Jankowski making steady progress at Providence College
Mark Jankowski is a key player for the Providence College Friars
CALGARY, AB -- There is no doubt that Mark Jankowski possesses a wealth of offensive talent.
His puck-handling skills are off the charts, has a heavy shot, and is an proficient playmaker thanks to his creativity and ability to read the game.
During his tenure with the Stanstead College Spartans, the Hamilton, ON native routinely decimated opposition goalies and ended up scoring 53 goals and 93 points in 57 games in the 2011-12 season.
But he was perhaps one of the lankiest players selected in Pittsburgh in 2012, with just 170-pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame. His biggest detriment was obvious as soon as you set eyes on him.
When he headed off to Providence College in the fall of 2012, his focus was on gaining strength. It's one thing to be dominant against players in high school; it's another to assert yourself physically against guys who may have 50 to 60 pounds on you.
His training regimen places a heavy emphasis on bulking up and adding on the requisite muscle needed for success at the next level.
"I've been working with our strength coach a lot," Jankowski told CalgaryFlames.com. "I've worked a lot with him, going through numbers, and we both agree that I'm getting stronger. That's something you can see on the ice as well.
"I'm getting stronger and I'm more confident with the puck and without the puck."
That work ethic and dedication has paid off this season.
Jankowski is logging a ton of minutes as their second line pivot. He sits third in team scoring heading into the Hockey East quarter-finals with 11 goals and 22 points through 34 games and is a plus-15 in that span, second amongst all Providence skaters.
"He's playing, if not the most, the second most minutes on our team consistently," head coach Nate Leaman told CalgaryFlames.com recently. "Every night, he's playing in every situation. He's pretty much out at the last minute of the game, whether we're up by a goal or down by a goal.
"I think that speaks a lot to just how much he's developed his game as a centreman and learning to play a complete game at this level."
While Leaman has been happy with the strides his young charge has made during his time with the Friars, he feels Jankowski will reach the next level in his development when he is able to establish himself consistently in the tough areas to play in the offensive zone.
"The big thing with him right now is that he continues to get to the dirty areas," Leaman noted. "That's what is important in his game because he has the skill and he has the vision to make a lot of plays.
"But he needs to continue to get to the dirty areas to score goals. I would probably say that of his 11 goals this year, 10 of them are from the dirty areas on the ice."
Heading into the Hockey East playoffs, which begin for the Friars on Mar. 14 when they square off against Maine in the best-of-three quarter-finals, Jankowski is looking to continue making strides physically.
"Being tough to play against, doing little things like staying d-side and making sure you're getting the opponent's stick so they can't get on the puck ... that's what I'm looking to do. It's little things like that, that you've got to work on.
"You have to keep your head in it and keep working at it, day in and day out."