This past summer was an unforgettable one for Air Force goalie Jason Torf.
He represented the United States in the Maccabiah Games and spent his internship with Boeing, where he developed a computer program for the South Korean Air Force's F-15s.
"I will look back on this some years from now and realize this was probably the best summer I ever had," Torf said. "Those were two great opportunities."
He sees this season as another.
"At the end of last year I realized I did not have much hockey left," the senior from Hermosa Beach, Calif., said. "The primary reason I came here was to play hockey and now I am looking at finishing my career the best way I possible can."
He is brimming with confidence after a memorable offseason.
The Maccabiah Games are an international Jewish event drawing athletes from 77 countries including 1,200 from the United States. It is the largest international athletic competition behind the Olympics and Paralympics.
Walking in the opening ceremonies in July was special.
"Growing up, I knew one other Jewish athlete and then I was part of a team of 1,200," he said. "There was an unspoken bond between all of us. It was a great feeling to have USA on my chest and to be part of that team."
Torf started all five games and came home with a silver medal after losing to Canada in the championship.
"There were some excellent players on my team," he said. "I was in awe of those guys and they were looking at me as the backbone of the team. In the handshake line afterward, (Canadian coach) Guy Carbonneau told me he hoped I realized how much I had carried my team. It was a special moment to hear that."
The aeronautical engineering major and all-Atlantic Hockey Association academic honoree spent his internship in St. Louis where he developed a computer program analyzing engine propulsion.
"It was really something to have engineers with 30 years experience telling me they were impressed with my work and that they learned a lot," he said.
He still grins at the thought. He gets more serious when he thinks about this season.
Torf is intent on playing at a higher level and to do so consistently.
It is that steadiness that makes him a good AHA goaltender, Falcons coach Frank Serratore said.
"He is a little bit underrated but he always brings consistency," Serratore said. "With other goalies, you may get a higher level than Jason but you know what you will get from him night after night. That allows a coach to get a lot more sleep."
"Being called consistent is a huge compliment," Torf said. "It is something I have strived for, but I have not reached the best level I can play. The first two years I was Mr. Showtime. I was able to rise to the occasion in big games but was inconsistent in others.
"This year, I am trying to combine the consistency of my junior year with the higher level of play I had earlier."
Torf is confident he can with the help of his defensemen.
"I am fortunate to have the D corps I have in front of me," he said. "They give me a comfort level that will help me play better."
Exhibition: New Brunswick at AFA, 6:05 p.m. Monday, 1300 AM