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Jackson surpasses NCAA milestone with University of Maine

Carly Jackson and her father, Rob, share a moment after the 22-year-old Hastings native played her 100th NCAA game with the University of Maine Black Bears on Nov. 30 at Dartmouth College.
Carly Jackson and her father, Rob, share a moment after the 22-year-old Hastings native played her 100th NCAA game with the University of Maine Black Bears on Nov. 30 at Dartmouth College. - Contributed

Plays 100th game between the pipes with the Black Bears

AMHERST, N.S. —

In a life of milestones, this one was probably the most special for Carly Jackson.

The 22-year-old Hastings native with the University of Maine Black Bears played her 100th game in her NCAA Hockey East career on Nov. 30 – an extraordinary feat for a goalie in college hockey.

Besides the 6-1 win over Dartmouth College, she was thrilled to look up in the stands and see her father, Rob, who’d travelled all the way from Amherst to see his daughter surpass the milestone.

“It was a shock for sure,” said Jackson, who is in her senior year at the University of Maine. “My father has travelled to every home game, but one in my university career. I really wasn’t expecting him at that game because it was at Dartmouth, but he drove for more than 10 hours to get there. I looked up in the stands during the warmup and there he was. We made eye contact and he waved. It was cool to share that moment with him because he’s been there through it all and he was the biggest supporter when I was growing up and playing minor hockey.”

Jackson said it a little difficult to stay focused knowing it was her 100th game in goal and she also had a feeling of nostalgia because it’s not every day an NCAA goalie surpasses the century mark in games played.

A goalie has to see action for it to be counted as a game. Even if she’s the backup goalie it doesn’t count as a game played. But if she plays a full game, or has to relieve the starting goalie, it counts.

The season is 30 games and Maine didn’t make the playoffs in two of her years there. That’s why it’s rare for goalies to play 100 games. She said her coach told her it’s the first he’d seen a goalie surpass 100 games in at least 10 years.

“It was pretty nostalgic and definitely pretty special. I thought about how many times I’ve stepped onto the ice and pulled on the jersey for the University of Maine since I first game here,” she said. “I’ve had an amazing opportunity to play for the University of Maine.”

Jackson said it was also special that one of her best friends in hockey, team captain Jillian Flynn, got to play the last five minutes.

“She’s been our third-stringer for four years and has put in a ton of time. It was almost celebratory for both of us. It was a personal victory for me, but she’s been there with me throughout,” she said. “It was special we got to share that moment.”

So far this season, she has a 2.12 goals against average and .921 save percentage for the Black Bears.

Jackson is in her fifth season with Maine, but her fourth season of eligibility. She was red-shirted in her freshman year meaning she could practice, but not play with the team. She has spent a lot of time wearing the blue and white of the Black Bears.

“When I first came here I wanted to help make a difference and make a significant impact. I wanted to leave the program better than when I started,” she said. “Playing 100 games was sort of goal when I started, but I wanted to do anything I could to help the program. It’s special to have had the opportunity to compete and show what I can do over a prolonged period of time. It’s really special to me.”

Even though she has been away from the rinks in Cumberland County for a long time, she still thinks of her minor hockey days in Amherst, Springhill and Oxford every time she goes on the ice with the Black Bears.

“That’s where it all started. Going to those rinks and having all those excellent coaches. It gave me my foundation and helped prepare me for where I am today,” she said. “I find myself thinking back to where I was then and where I am now and I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come.”

She will graduate with a bachelor of science in athletic training in the spring and she has applied to several graduate programs. She also wants to continue playing hockey, preferably professionally.

“I’m going to take some time and keep my doors open. I want to keep playing, but I’m waiting to see what opportunities come up and what works best for my future and education,” she said. “I’ve got a rough plan, but everything has to fall into place.”

An option could be the National Women’s Hockey League, where Brookdale’s Mallory Rushton, who graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology last spring, is playing with the Metropolitan Riveters based out of Newark, N.J.

She’s also hoping a plan will come together to create a new league from the NWHL and the folded Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

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