By Tyler Brosious – Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network
Routine is important for student-athletes, and after a year of bouncing in and out of the lineup former Trail Smoke Eater Craig Martin is finding himself in a routine at the top of the Bobcats’ lineup sheet.
Playing on a line with fellow Trail native Scott Davidson, Martin solidified his spot in the Quinnipiac lineup after doubling his career total with goals in back to back games this past week – finding the twine twice for the Quinnipiac University Bobcats.
His first goal of the season came on Saturday night in the hostile atmosphere of the Alfond Arena in Maine. The Bobcats found themselves in their second overtime game of the weekend and the crowd swarming the boys in blue and gold. That’s when Martin struck for Quinnipiac.
“I got a pretty fortunate bounce, the puck just ended up on my stick,” Martin said. “It was nice to bury that one for the guys.”
Martin’s strong week continued Tuesday night when he corralled a pass from Tim Clifton in the slot, was hit hard by the defender and still was able to beat the goalie over his left shoulder to give the Bobcats an early 2-0 lead.
“Timmy [Clifton] made a nice play and hit me in the slot,” Martin said. “It went off someone, I fanned on it a bit, and I just tried to get it on net as quick as I could and I got it to go in.”
Martin’s success comes after a freshman campaign that saw him start in only 18 games during the season. However, when called on to play in the ECAC Semifinal against Dartmouth, Martin made the most of it scoring his first career goal, something head coach Rand Pecknold remembers well.
“Like I said all last year, Craig was in a tough spot last year,” Pecknold said about Martin. “We were really good and really deep, and he found his way in the lineup, we just didn’t have a lot of room for him. But he is a very good hockey player.”
For Martin, the fast start solidifies a summer of hard work with Quinnipiac’s strength and conditioning coach Brijesh Patel.
“I’m the same player as last year, but with more confidence,” Martin said. “Coach B [Brijesh] is a big part of that, I got a lot stronger in the summer and that just transitioned onto the ice. I’m playing a lot more confidently this season.”
Martin has also found himself on a line where he can succeed. Penciled in with Clifton and Davidson, two players who aren’t afraid to dump pucks and make big hits, the sophomore winger is using it to his advantage.
“It’s unreal for me. They dump the puck, get after it, bang bodies,” Martin said. “I join a little bit when I can, but it creates space for me and I have been able to get open in the slot a few times and they get me passes. It’s been really nice so far.”
For Martin, his two-goal week could be a springboard for a breakout season after a freshman year of uncertainty and a summer of hard work.
“It’s definitely a good feeling. You obviously want to be in the lineup every day, every night, contributing, being part of the team. It’s a different feeling from last year and it’s nice to contribute.”
Quinnipiac is off to a 2-1-1 start in ECAC division of the NCAA and currently ranked number-4 in the nation in the USCHO poll.