Every hockey team needs a gritty, physical presence on the ice–a player who really grinds hard every shift to bring energy and momentum to the group.
For the Cal State Fullerton hockey team, that presence comes in a rather smallish figure.
Standing at 5’11” and listed at 180 pounds, sophomore forward Jakob Brummett is more like the Tasmanian devil on skates than a brute force to be reckoned with, but tell that to the opposition as Brummett barrels in on the forecheck to bump an opposing defenseman.
“I like irritating other players. I like to hit, whatever I can do to make an impact,” said Brummett. “I’m not really a point scorer, I’m all about hitting.”
But since the 19-year-old was moved from defense to forward last month, he has displayed a consistent knack for finding the back of the net. Brummett has tallied six goals in the last five games and the Titans have won four of their last five contests since the coaching staff moved him up to play with the first line.
The recently formed top offensive line trio consisting of freshman Alec Censullo, senior Elan Dunaev and Brummett has been extremely dangerous in the offensive zone, causing havoc for the opposition.
Titan forward Anthony Webb said it appears the three have been playing together for a much longer time than just five games.
“That whole line has just been really clicking,” said Webb.
Brummett adds the crucial element of physicality along with his strong skating ability to perfectly round out that top offensive line.
“Brummett is a very physical player,” Webb said. “Ever since he’s been moved to forward he’s been getting in on the forecheck and being the first guy in there and definitely laying the body on the defensemen.”
Through his aggressive play, the young forward has been able to successfully open up space for his teammates, helping the team’s offensive numbers increase in recent games.
But physicality is not a new element he recently brought into his style of play. Ever since he was a kid, Brummett has loved the physical aspect of hockey.
Brummett was introduced to the game early in life. At 5 years old, he started playing street hockey with his neighbors and soon thereafter he got involved in youth hockey where he played roller hockey at what is now The Rinks Corona Inline.
He didn’t get on the ice until he was 13.
The transition from roller to ice was “tough,” but once he got the hang of stopping on ice and the different rules that are involved in ice hockey, there was no turning back.
“The game is way different. I love ice, I would never go back to roller,” Brummett said.
In his second season with Fullerton, he and his teammates both see the progression in his game and attitude.
“Jake’s biggest problem is his confidence. When he gets down on himself and tries to do too much is when he has problems and struggles,” said goaltender and team captain Brandon Heethuis.
Heethuis said he has seen a lot of maturity in Brummett from last season to this season, when Brummett admittedly struggled to find his game.
“He’s kind of been humbled by some of the guys and I think the hockey team has been great for him,” Heethuis said. “He’s made a big transition in the last year. I’ve definitely seen him take as much of a leadership role as he can at this point.”
Heethuis also described Brummett as a quiet guy until he hits the ice.
In the sport of hockey, it’s not odd to see the nice and quiet guy end up being the guy that will play with a physical edge and punish the opposing team physically.
“He’s always been a real nice guy, you know, a real happy guy. Every time he’s at the rink he’s happy to play hockey. He just really loves the game,” said Webb, who played in adult leagues with Brummett before playing with him at Fullerton.
At the same time, Webb said he’s glad to be playing with him rather than against him.
“He’s got good size, he has good hands and he’s definitely strong on his skates. He’ll knock you down if he wants to,” Webb said.
Brummett plans to stay with the team until he graduates, which could be two or three more seasons.
“Hopefully I take over more of a leadership role when all these guys graduate,” Brummett said with an eager tone in his voice.
The Titans’ very own Tasmanian devil certainly has the skill, grit, desire and is currently gaining the experience he will need to help lead the Titans to success in the near future.