Canadian or Texan, Martens enjoys the ride
A quick check of the Bemidji State men's hockey roster under the heading of hometown reveals an interesting note. Senior defenseman Andrew Martens lists his hometown as Friendswood, Texas. What's that, a Longhorn on ice? Well, sort of. "I was bor...
A quick check of the Bemidji State men's hockey roster under the heading of hometown reveals an interesting note.
Senior defenseman Andrew Martens lists his hometown as Friendswood, Texas. What's that, a Longhorn on ice?
Well, sort of.
"I was born in Calgary and lived there until I was 10," said Martens, who is known by his teammates as Tex. "My step-father was then transferred to Texas and my mom and I decided to move with him."
The transition lasted only a few short years. "When I was 13, I moved back to Canada," he said. "I went to a private school that is well known for hockey (Notre Dame in Saskatchewan)."
Martens moved on to junior hockey and found himself playing a couple of exhibition games for a major junior team in the Ontario Hockey League. That's a violation of NCAA rules and the two games ended up costing Martens a year of college eligibility.
"I went back to playing junior hockey in Ontario and was recruited by (then BSU assistant coach) Shane Kurlyk," Martens said. "I jumped at the chance to come to BSU."
It's been quite a ride for Martens. "We've had a lot of success and I've been very proud to be a part of it," said Martens, an All-CHA first team selection this year. "I've made some of the closest friends of my life here."
While the Beavers are coming off their third straight championship season, this year was a bit different as the Beavers struggled with a consistency. A fast 8-2 start was quickly followed by a 2-6-2 dip. The Beavers then went through a stretch of playing well one weekend and not up to par the next.
But the team put things together when it mattered most, sweeping archrival Alabama-Huntsville in a huge regular-season ending series, then marching to the CHA Tournament title.
Was there a turning point that led to the strong finish?
"After getting swept at Niagara late in the season it put everything into perspective," said Martens. "Everything clicked about how we had to play as a team in order to win. I think we really showed that against Huntsville.
"In the CHA Tournament game against Huntsville, when we were behind 2-1 after the second period, we talked about how we weren't playing our game.
"But we didn't give up -- even when we went behind 3-1. That showed real signs of maturity to come back and win that game.
"Something just clicked in everyone's mind. Instead of talking about it, we knew our best hockey has to come out every night in order for us to win. It all starts with practice and then be mentally prepared.
"We're ready now."
Ready will be a must in the first game of the NCAA Midwest Regional Saturday at Green Bay, Wis. The Beavers will be going up against the top seed in the tournament in the Wisconsin Badgers.
"We aren't going to be content with just being there," Martens said. "We know we have to play our game; we have to execute all the things we've worked so hard on all year. There's nothing to say we can't win."
Martens also said the entire BSU team knows the game will be a war. "They have the best defense in college hockey," he said, "with a 1.95 goals against average. That's impressive. It's going to be a battle. We'll leave our hearts out there."