By Mike Mastovich
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – As his playing time increased and his role became more prominent, so has Grant Jacobsen’s productivity for the Johnstown Chiefs.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound center’s timing is right.
The sixth-place Chiefs will need big efforts from a number of positions in order to get back into the ECHL’s postseason picture.
“Opportunity has a lot to do with it,” Jacobsen said after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the visiting Toledo Storm. “I have more responsibility and more ice time on my shoulders. When you get more ice time, you’re going to get more opportunities. The puck has been going in more lately.”
In his first 46 games with the Chiefs, Jacobsen had four goals and 11 points.
But he’s also been capable with the Chiefs skating short-handed, such as Friday night when Jacobsen tallied a short-handed goal in a 5-2 win over visiting Wheeling.
“Me and Demo (Tarabrin) work well down low, and he complements me in the corners,” Jacobsen said. “Desrochers has a lot of skills. Any time you play on a line with guys like that, the puck is going to go in the net.”
On Sunday, Desrochers sat out while awaiting a ruling on a possible suspension. Jacobsen and Tarabrin teamed with Gus Katsuras.
“Jake is getting more ice time and he’s starting to come around and play big,” Tarabrin said.
Last season, Jacobsen played 59 games for the Reading Royals before being traded to the Columbia Inferno for the final nine games. He had 15 goals and 46 points in 2005-06.
A native of Neepawa, Manitoba, Jacobsen was drafted in the ninth round by the St. Louis Blues in 2001.
“Jacobsen is a big guy and right now he’s centering the top line, so to speak, with Dmitri Tarabrin,” Chiefs coach Frank Anzalone said. “He’s good down low. He protects the puck well. He’s been scoring a few goals for us and that’s helped us.”