The NCAA Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s hockey team handed out their hardware on the weekend, and Trail native Craig Martin received recognition for a breakout season.
Martin, a former Trail Smoke Eater and Beaver Valley Nitehawks forward, was honoured by Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold at the Bobcats end-of-year banquet with the Seventh-Player Award, given to the player who has shown the most growth as a member of the Quinnipiac team.
Martin posted a banner season for the Bobcats, finishing second in team scoring with 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points, while playing in all 40 games in his sophomore campaign. In his rookie season last year, Martin tallied a goal and three assists, while playing in just 18 games.
Martin’s emergence as a top-six forward for Quinnipiac may have come as a surprise to some, but for others, it was simply a matter of hard work and time.
“I give him credit,” said coach Pecknold earlier this year. “He worked his tail off in practice and always had a great attitude. He’s getting his reward this year.”
The talented forward notched seven power-play goals, tying team MVP Tim Clifton for the team lead, while his five game-winning goals led all Bobcats. Martin also led Quinnipiac with 10 multiple-point games including three three-point games. The J. L. Crowe graduate’s most impressive stretch of the season came in January when he scored two goals and assisted on six more for eight points in a five-game scoring streak. For the year, Quinnipiac was 8-2 when he scored a goal, 9-1 when he registered an assist and 14-3 when he had a point.
Martin played on a line with Clifton for most of the season, and the two developed a chemistry that combined Martin’s speed and knack for finding open ice with the veteran Clifton’s offensive awareness and tenacity in front of the net.
“He’s doing a great job on the power play, great job on the penalty kill, he’s been really good defensively playing with Timmy [Clifton] all year. [We’re] really happy with his development.”
In addition to Martin’s award and Clifton as MVP, Pecknold also recognized Alex Whelan as the program’s Rookie of the Year, Tommy Schutt and Connor Clifton received the Coaches Award, and Derek Smith was the recipient of the Academic Award.
The Bobcats’ season ended on Mar. 17 with an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) semifinal loss to the Harvard Crimson. The Ivy League Crimson went on to win the ECAC and the NCAA East Region, and played in the Frozen Four for the first time since 1994.
Quinnipiac, 23-15-2, finished the season ranked Number-20 in the nation.