By Brian Compton
NHL.com Staff Writer
It was only a few years ago when Jeff Jakaitis was at Lake Superior State on a hockey scholarship. He was going to use that free ride to take him into the real world.
It turns out there’s been a change in plans.
The 24-year-old goaltender is close to completing what has been a solid rookie season with the Columbia Inferno, for whom he has made 36 appearances after signing a two-way deal with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League last summer.
Jakaitis, whose numbers improved every year at Lake Superior State, is 12-14-6 with a 2.92 GAA for the playoff-bound Inferno.
“To be honest with you, I never really thought I’d have the opportunity to play professionally until maybe my junior year of college,” Jakaitis told NHL.com. “After high school, I wanted to try to get a scholarship and get an education. If I could use hockey to pay for it, that’d be great. I ended up playing two years in junior (with USHL Waterloo), hoping to get a scholarship. Once I got to Lake State, things went well. Growing up, it was always a goal, but I didn’t know if it would be a realistic possibility.”