It's early in the University of Denver's hockey season, but the team may already have a cause to rally around that could propel them to another championship run: the recovery of center Jesse Martin. The Pioneers were in North Dakota for a game Saturday night when, about halfway through the second period, Martin was checked into the boards by North Dakota forward and Colorado Avalanche draft pick Brad Malone, writes The Denver Post.
Martin's head and neck hit the board in such a way that he was knocked unconscious and taken from the ice on a stretcher. Once Martin was inside the hospital, doctors learned that he had suffered three fractures to his C2 vertebra, and they may need to perform surgery to relieve swelling of the spinal cord. A statement on the DU athletics website says that Martin has feelings in all of his extremities and is listed in stable condition at a Minneapolis hospital.
The Pioneers went on to win the game against the North Dakota Fighting Sioux 3-0, rallying behind their injured teammate. "It's good to show some passion, some emotion, to respond as a team," team captain Kyle Ostrow tells the Post in a separate article. "To see a guy go down like that, you want to do everything to win the game. At intermission, we talked about it and made sure we came out flying in the third."
The Pioneers sit at fifth place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, but that's after going 2-1 in just three WCHA games and with a 3-3-2 overall record. The team will attempt to improve its overall record on Friday against Colorado College at Magness Arena.