The 5-foot-11, 164-pound Lefton has always played defense. Now, he’s a forward and he’s leading the Rams in goals scored and total points.
“It just seemed liked our D [defensive] core was pretty deep this season,” Lefton said. “So, it made sense to move me to being a forward. I was definitely on board with the move.
“I like getting to score. I’ve been playing defense all my life and this is a lot different … but I like it. It was a little tough at first but all the guys have helped with the position and everything. … everyone had good pointers for me.”
MICDS coach John Mattingly Jr. said the move by Lefton has worked out well for the Rams.
“Jacob has been the backbone of our offense this year,” Mattingly said. “You can count on him to put points on the scoresheet every game.
“Most games he plays 100-percent offense, but in close games, we utilize him defensively as well.”
Hockey is something Lefton has been doing since he was 6 years old.
“My dad and uncle played and I wanted to play. Our whole family loves hockey,” Lefton said.
As an assistant captain for the Rams, being a team leader is important to him.
“I try to be a leader in the locker room and on the ice,” Lefton said. “I think being a leader is definitely important. It forces you to lead by example. You have to be accountable.
“I like helping the younger players. I want the program to be in good hands once we’re all gone from playing here.”
Mattingly said Lefton does a good job in the leadership role.
“He gives 110 percent every game and every practice,” Mattingly said. “He isn’t the type of captain that is always vocal, but his teammates respect him for what he brings to every practice and every game.”
Lefton had the honor of representing his country in Israel last summer when he played defense for Team USA in the 20th Maccabiah Games. About 7,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries descended on the Holy Land to join 2,500 Israeli athletes in the Olympic-style competition. Lefton was one of those athletes.
“There was a selection process and I was so excited to be selected,” Lefton said. “We were there for two weeks. We ended up with winning the gold medal [beating Canada 5-2].
“It was a great experience. I had never been to Israel before.”
Lefton said he didn’t have any expectations, but that the description he received from other people was not even close to what he experienced. “I thought it one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to,” he said.
Lefton scored one goal in the tournament.
“It was one of the best feelings to score that goal,” he said. “Representing the USA is one of the biggest honors I’ve ever had. It was a memory of a lifetime.”
The gold medal he got for being on the team is hanging in his room.
“Any time you are asked to represent Team USA in any aspect it is a huge honor,” Mattingly said. “I know the experience was tremendous for Jacob and he has returned a better team leader due to that experience.”
Before this year, Lefton played for the St. Louis Selects for three years and also has played for the Junior Blues. Now, he plays exclusively for MICDS.
There’s been no second guessing of his decision.
“It just seemed like the smarter route for me,” Lefton said. “It’s what I wanted to do. It’s a lot less travel. I have more time to focus on school.
“It’s great to be at every MICDS game. It’s awesome to have the whole school being behind the team.”
Lefton believes the Rams can have a good run in postseason play. MICDS likely will play in the Wickenheiser Cup.
“I think we could go pretty much as far as we allow ourselves to go,” Lefton said. “We’re definitely ready for the playoffs. We’ve been thinking about it the whole season without getting too far ahead of ourselves.
“Our coaches are good at keeping us focused on one game at a time.”