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Jacob Bloomfield, an Ohio Bobcat hockey goalie, poses for a picture after the game against the John Carroll Blue Streaks on Friday evening. The Bobcats won 9-0. 

Hockey: Former Athens goalie makes the cut on Ohio's roster

Third time is the charm for Jacob Bloomfield on his journey to the Bobcats’ Division I team.

Ohio hockey coach Sean Hogan didn’t plan on recruiting another goalie this season.

Even though Scott Boyd, Ohio’s former third goalie, graduated and left behind a potential opening, Hogan had two seasoned juniors returning to a net they practically owned last year.

Then at the team’s annual open tryout, Hogan found a hard-working guy who happens to be more familiar with the nets at Bird Arena than any of the active players.

“He earned it,” Hogan said of goalie Jacob Bloomfield, who made the Bobcats’ final roster. “He earned an opportunity to be on our roster and growing up here at Bird Arena, I’m sure he’s always wanted to play here, so it’s a good opportunity for him.”

Bloomfield said he has always wanted to play for the Bobcats.

The 6-foot-4 junior from Portsmouth, Ohio, Bloomfield has gone to Bird Arena to watch the Bobcats play since he was eight years old.

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“It’s pretty special, honestly,” Bloomfield, now 22, said. “It’s something that I dreamed about since I started playing in Athens when I was in pee-wee."

Bloomfield made the hour and a half trek from Portsmouth to Athens for practices and games from pee-wee through high school, until living in Athens as a freshman in college.

Following high school graduation, Bloomfield spent a year in Florida playing junior hockey for the Palm Beach Hawks. He then returned to Athens to try out for Ohio’s Division I team his first two years but didn’t make the roster.

After two years of being cut, the circumstances changed in 2015. 

“When I found out, when I saw my name on the roster, I really didn’t have words to describe the feeling," he said. "In a way, it still doesn’t feel real.”

Bloomfield's journey to the Bobcats was one filled with patience. 

At Athens High School, Bloomfield was a reliable last line of defense — posting a career 2.79 goals against average.

But when he left the state of Ohio to play for the Hawks, he was merely a third-stringer — getting in just eight of 46 games that season.

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After his short tenure of junior hockey, Bloomfield spent two years in Ohio's Division II program under coach Phil Oberlin.

As a freshman, Bloomfield saw limited action because the D-II team had a senior goaltender taking most of the starts. In his sophomore year, Bloomfield dealt with a crowded roster of goalies vying for ice time.

“Coming into the D-II team last year, we had four goalies on the team who were all sophomores, so it was up in the air who was going to get to play,” Bloomfield said. “And I was fortunate enough to play in a lot of big games and pick up some big wins.”

In a platoon goaltender system, Bloomfield stood out his sophomore year by leading the team in wins (6) and GAA (2.94).

And his success didn’t go completely unnoticed. Keeping a close eye was Hogan, who knew that carrying a third goalie could be valuable.

“Sean actually had asked me about it (picking up Bloomfield) a little bit because he didn’t want to leave me high and dry, but we have three very capable goaltenders still on our team,” Oberlin said. “I wasn’t going to deny Jake the opportunity. I mean, I’m from Athens; he grew up playing here as well. Growing up here you want to play on the Ohio University Division I team.”

Ohio’s 28-man roster — including a trio of junior goalies in Bloomfield, Aaron Alkema and Ryan Heltion — will only dress two goalies per game. That doesn’t bode well for Bloomfield, since Alkema and Heltion combined for a .920 save percentage last season and will likely hold the top two spots.

When Bloomfield does get his chance to play though, he just wants to keep a clear head and focus on nothing except stopping the puck.

“But at the same time, with it being the realization of a dream I’ve had for a lot of years, I think there will definitely be a moment where looking out at that crowd, it’ll be pretty special,” Bloomfield said.


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