In a season filled with ups and downs, one thing has remained consistent for the MSU hockey team: Jake Hildebrand’s goaltending.
For the first time in his MSU hockey career, the freshman goaltender received acknowledgement for his performance by the CCHA — earning CCHA’s Warrior Goaltender of the Week.
The honor came following a split weekend for MSU (6-13-3 overall, 5-10-1-0 CCHA) against No. 2 Notre Dame — a 1-0 loss Friday night and a 4-1 win Saturday. Throughout the two games, Hildebrand allowed only two goals while facing 67 shots — 32 saves the first night and 33 the following evening.
His performances have given his teammates an established comfort in what has so far been a rocky season, and many players reiterate after losses that he always gives them a chance to win.
“It’s really nice knowing you have that stability back there,” junior forward and captain Greg Wolfe said Saturday. “He’s playing great hockey. I’m not really surprised anymore, it’s routine now. I’m really happy for him that we finally got a win for him because he deserved it.”
Hildebrand sits high in multiple national categories. He is fourth in save percentage (.943) and eighth in goals against average (1.81), according to a press release from MSU athletic department.
Head coach Tom Anastos said he’s been impressed with the poise Hildebrand has displayed and finds it especially impressive for a freshman.
“He’s got a great glove,” Anastos said. “If he sees it, he stops it most of the time. What I found in Jake that is pretty incredible is his body control. He always seems square to the puck … He’s just so quick moving side-to-side and moving square to the puck. The way he’s been playing is if he sees the puck, he’s been stopping it.”