It’s been a summer of new experiences and great personal on-ice growth for goaltender Zane Gothberg.
And the hope is that at some point in the next several years, the Bruins will reap the rewards.
The 6-foot-1, 177-pound Gothberg spent last week at the 2010 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., where he tried to impress the brass enough to earn a spot on the squad that’ll compete at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo.
His participation there came on the heels of his weeklong stay in the Bay State for the Bruins’ development camp just weeks after he was drafted by Boston in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
“I just went out there with the mindset of just work my butt off and hope for the best,” Gothberg recently told TheBruinsBlog.net while resting at his Minnesota home. “There’s a lot of eyeballs watching. So hopefully I made a good impression on some guys.”
Gothberg, who’ll turn 18 next week, was honored to be invited as one of three goaltenders at the U.S. camp. But the competition was stiff with last year’s WJC gold-medal-winning netminder Jack Campbell (the 11th overall pick at the draft) and Andy Iles, who won gold at this spring’s World Under-18 Championship, also in attendance. Gothberg, however, wasn’t intimidated.
“We had a lot of good competition. It was friendly competition, but just going in there I knew there’s obviously a spot available so hopefully this will put me in a better position to hopefully get that spot in December,” he said.
In three intra-squad contests at the camp, Gothberg allowed just one goal in 91 minutes of action and posted a .962 save percentage. In his only international game of the camp, he was victimized by Sweden’s four power-play goals in a 4-1 loss. But he made 24 saves.
After that game, Gothberg went over video with USA Hockey goaltending coach Joe Exter, who also had a big influence on Gothberg’s play throughout the camp.
“We mostly talked about maybe on the rush, coming down on 2-on-1s and stuff, I have to have a little more calm feet. I tend to keep my feet active. So I just have to keep my fit a little more calm,” Gothberg said. “And then it was a lot of [working on] looking through screens and traffic and stuff. So we talked about maybe not sliding into them as much, just trying to track the puck better.”
With the advice of Exter and Bruins goaltending coach Bob Essensa now at his disposal to combine with the tutelage of his hometown goalie coach Dave Rogalski, Gothberg should be well-armed for his first season with Fargo of the USHL. He’ll report there in a few weeks to get acclimated before his big season of development prior to joining the University of North Dakota.
Whether facing off with some of the Bruins’ best prospects or the best USA Hockey has to offer in his age group, Gothberg has made the most of this “offseason.”
“It’s been a little bit of a learning process, but at the same time I’ve played with and against a lot of good competition. And I’ve gotten in touch with the goaltending coaches,” he said.