At some point Thursday night, Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey goaltender Kim Martin must have decided she wasn’t going to allow a goal the rest of the season.
The UMD star gave up a game-tying goal against New Hampshire in the second period — a period in which the Bulldogs failed to record a shot — of an NCAA Frozen Four semifinal game at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
UMD scored the eventual winning goal in the third, and Martin stopped 41 of 43 shots to lift the Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory and into the national championship game, a rematch of the 2007 title game against two-time defending champion Wisconsin.
Martin’s magic continued Saturday in the title game as she turned aside all 28 shots she faced in a 4-0 shutout over the Western Collegiate Hockey Association-rival Badgers. The performance earned her an all-tournament-team spot and the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.
UMD, outshot by a 71-39 margin — 43-15 against UNH and 28-24 against Wisconsin — in its final two games, outscored its opponents 7-2 and received 69 saves from its Swedish sophomore goalie.
"We know Martin’s a great goalie, and when she’s on she’s really on," Badgers forward Jinelle Zaugg said after Saturday’s loss. "Our goal was to shoot the puck, and we really needed to get on top of those rebounds. She took some [goals] away from us that we should’ve had.
"It was tough to get started, but we had a lot of shots and a lot of opportunities."
Martin, who led Sweden to a silver medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics, was a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top player in college women’s hockey. Harvard forward Sarah Vaillancourt won the award, which was presented Friday night at the Radisson Hotel in Duluth. A Harvard player has won the award six times in its 11-year history.
If voting took place after the Frozen Four, or even after Thursday’s semifinal game, quite a few people would have given the nod to Martin. UMD, owner of four NCAA championships, has never had a Kazmaier winner, despite great former players like Jenny Potter, Maria Rooth and Erika Holst.
Martin doesn’t feel bad about not taking home any hardware Friday night. The next day she helped get the prize that really matters.
"I’d rather have a national championship than having an award," Martin said, "even though it’s an honor to get it."
Photo by Jack Rendulich / Associated Press