At any level of hockey, the most pressure packed position is the one between the pipes. An elite goaltender can be the difference between a losing team and a championship one.
St. Lawrence Skating Saints goaltender Carmen MacDonald justified this statement, as she helped the club upset the top-seeded Cornell Big Red in the 2012 ECAC postseason tournament.
What made the accomplishment even more remarkable is that MacDonald was a freshman. In the ECAC championship game against Cornell, MacDonald was superb, finishing with 33 saves.
She showed terrific grace under pressure, as the Saints were outshot 17-5 in the first period versus Cornell. MacDonald would finish the tournament by earning the ECAC playoff MVP award.
A member of the Canadian under-18 squad that claimed the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF under-18 women’s worlds (she posted two shutouts), she was immortalized on a hockey card in Upper Deck’s 2011 World of Sports Collection (Card No. 177).
With a regular-season record of 21 wins, compared to only seven losses and three ties, MacDonald earned a spot on the ECAC All-Rookie Team.
MacDonald was named ECAC Goaltender of the Month in both January and February of 2012. During the month of January 2012, she helped the Saints enjoy a nine-game unbeaten streak.
In February, MacDonald followed the streak with a sparkling 7-1-0 record, including three shutouts.
In 32 games played, she had a save percentage of .929, along with 795 saves. Perhaps the most impressive number is her six shutouts, a Saints record.
When comparing her to Hillary Pattenden and Alex Rigsby, two elite performers that recorded some of the finest freshmen seasons for goaltenders in NCAA history, MacDonald’s numbers are formidable.
In Pattenden’s freshman season, her save percentage was .906 and she recorded only 489 saves. Rigsby’s save percentage was .921 as a rookie, the season she led Wisconsin to the NCAA Frozen Four title. Rigsby also only made 630 saves.
Hailing from Pictou, Nova Scotia, MacDonald is another budding superstar from Atlantic Canada. The region is starting to provide NCAA hockey with some of the brightest prospects available (such as Jillian Saulnier of Cornell and Shannon MacAulay of Clarkson).
In 2008 and 2009, MacDonald played with Team Atlantic at the Canadian National under-18 championships, while posting a combined goals against average of 2.25.
Along with Harvard recruit Emerance Maschmeyer, she will be counted upon to help bring the Canadian under-22 squad a gold medal at the Meco Cup.
Her cousin is Joey MacDonald, a goaltender with the Detroit Red Wings organization.
The numbers posted during her rookie season would indicate that St. Lawrence has a bright future ahead of them with MacDonald between the pipes. Following in the footsteps of Rachel Barrie, another prominent St. Lawrence backstop, MacDonald just might be the goaltender to bring the Saints back to the Frozen Four.