Shane Ott loves to pass the puck.
He enjoys distributing the puck. And winning faceoffs. You know, the things that don’t always show up in a North American Hockey League box score.
But on Jan. 15-16, Ott’s name was all over the Janesville Jets’ score sheet.
Ott delivered four goals in two games as Janesville swept the Minnesota Wilderness, grabbing some momentum as league play kicks back into high gear.
“I wouldn’t say anything major” led to the big weekend, Ott said last week. “It was just sticking to what our coaches and our team have been building over the last few weeks since we got back from the (holiday) break.
“I was just fortunate enough to get those chances and put them in the back of the net when I could.”
Whatever the reason for the outburst, Ott will take it.
He scored his third and fourth goals of the season during the Jets’ three-goal second period in the first game of the series with the Wilderness, and Janesville won 3-0.
The next night, Ott proved even more heroic.
Not only did he score early in the third period to give his team the lead, but after the Wilderness tied it back up, Ott scored with just two seconds left in regulation for a 3-2 victory and a sweep.
With the big weekend, Ott now ranks second on the Jets with his six goals and is fourth with nine points.
A native of Centennial, Colorado, he played the past two seasons with the Drumheller Dragons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in Canada. He scored 35 goals and added 79 assists in 115 games.
Ott said the jump to the NAHL has been a good one, though he has had to adjust to bigger, stronger opponents and a faster pace of play.
“It’s been fun getting used to the league,” Ott said. “It’s a little bit of a change, but I think the guys that have been here the last couple years have helped me adjust and make the transition smooth.
“It’s just a fast game. You’ve got to make plays quick at the level we’re at.”
The Jets were scheduled to be off this past weekend, but a late call from the United States Hockey League’s Green Bay Gamblers resulted in an exhibition weekend.
Janesville returns to the ice for a three-game set with Kenai River this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Ott hopes to keep carrying his momentum forward.
Along with his recent scoring burst, he made his Division I college commitment last month, pledging to join Niagara.
“It was an awesome process to have a Division I school reach out,” Ott said. “They (the coaches) displayed interest as me as a person, as a hockey player and as a student. I could not pass up that opportunity to play Division I hockey at a good school.
“It was a dream of mine to play Division I growing up. I went to Denver games as a kid and always wanted to play in college.”
Ott said making his college commitment also took a bit of weight off his shoulders.
“It made me feel little looser, probably, and more confident,” Ott said. “Knowing that I have that done now, I can just go out and play how the team wants and how I know I can.
“I like to pass the puck a lot. Passing and my vision are definitely some strengths of my game. And faceoffs—I end up taking a lot of draws as one of the centers on our team. I could get better at that but have also picked up techniques from players I’ve played with and pros I’ve studied.”
Whether he is scoring or passing or showing up in the box score at all, Ott believes the Jets are headed in the right direction.
“We’re definitely trending in the right direction, and those two wins will just boost that even more,” Ott said. “We’ll just keep working. There’s definitely momentum, we’ve just got to stick with the plan.”