Luckily for Mason Jobst, size is only one factor in the equation that goes into whether or not a player can make it to the next level.
The Ohio State junior center continues to prove his critics wrong. At 5-feet-8, he constantly has to demonstrate that his game can translate to the next level despite being one of the smaller players on the ice each and every night.
On Friday night against UMass, Jobst was once again the best player on the ice. The Buckeyes’ captain from Speedway, Ind. scored two power play goals, including the game-winner, as his team won, 3-1, en route to a sweep of the Minutemen.
Jobst, who now has four goals and two assists on the season, finished the night with six shots on goal while playing in all situations. His first tally of the night came when he swooped in and quickly deposited a rebound from just outside of the goalmouth. The insurance marker was a thing of beauty on a transition play. He toe-dragged a UMass defender, then showed patience before ultimately sweeping the puck into the back of the net.
“It’s what you see every night from him. He plays five-on-five, kills penalties, and plays the power play. He’s not the biggest guy in stature out there, but he just brings it,” said OSU coach Steve Rohlik.
What stuck out Friday night was Jobst’s ability to hound pucks. He’s all over the ice, chasing down loose pucks, and winning battles, even against the opposition’s bigger players. Even strength and power play, Jobst was able to create offense by having the puck on his stick after recovering a vacant puck.
“All of a sudden you see him. He’s not a big guy, but he gets that reach in there and he’s on top of you. Guys don’t know he has that closing step. He’s just got a knack. He’s a gifted hockey player,” said Rohlik.
Jobst, an undrafted free agent, was humble in describing what makes his hockey sense a step above many other players at this level.
“Hockey sense is hard to describe. I love to work on my craft all summer. I’m always at the rink and shooting a million pucks. I’m always staying after, shooting as much as possible, and working on my skills,” explained Jobst.
For any small player trying to make it to the NHL, it’s imperative he can demonstrate his ability to play a complete game. Jobst has that opportunity at Ohio State where he plays on the penalty kill.
“There are so many skilled players who have all the skill in the world, but they aren’t 200-foot players. It’s hard for them to make it. I realize that you have to be a 200-foot player to make it to the NHL,” said Jobst. “When you look at some of the best players at the pro level, they’re doing those things and that’s why they’re so good.”
“He’s really trying to play a 200-foot game and it helps him create a lot of opportunities,” Rohlik added.
NHL organizations are starting to notice the former two-time captain of the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. Jobst attended NHL Development Camp with the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins this past off-season.
While NHL teams like his speed, skill set and hockey sense, Jobst said it was the importance of intangibles that most stood out to him following his experience playing with and against some of the top young prospects in each organization.
“My compete level has gotten me to where I am at this point. Obviously you can always work on your skills and strengths,” Jobst began.
“What I learned this summer at those camps, it’s all about how you treat your body and doing all the right things. If you continue to compete and work on your craft you’ll make it to the next level,” he continued.
Unlike a player his size 20 years ago, Jobst has plenty of role models to model his game after. He takes pride in watching players similar in stature to him, to see what he can do to improve his skill set and hockey IQ.
“I like to watch all the smaller guys. Johnny Gaudreau has unbelievable skill. Tyler Johnson, Cam Atkinson, there are so many small guys. I try to take bits and pieces from what those guys do and put it into my own game,” said Jobst.
The 3-1-2 Buckeyes enter this weekend’s home-and-home series with Robert Morris on a four-game unbeaten streak. While OSU still has to prove it can compete against the upper echelon of college hockey on a nightly basis, there’s no doubting the ability or character of the team’s first line center.
“He’s a great leader for our team,” Rohlik said.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Jobst said of being OSU’s captain. “I always strive to be a good leader on and off the ice. It’s all about the hard work for me. I’ll be vocal, but I just try to do the right things.”
This past Friday night Jobst did all the right things.