Anton Martinsson

Goaltender Anton Martinsson watches the University of Alaska Fairbanks "Juice Boy," shootout drill during a practice Jan. 9 at the Carlson Center. The Nanooks senior’s .925 saves percentage is ranked 17th in NCAA Division I. 

If Anton Martinsson is playing at goaltender the next time the University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey team wins a game, it will be the Nanooks senior’s 25th career victory.

“Obviously, that’s huge,” the business administration major from Klippan, Sweden said Wednesday during a break in practice at the Carlson Center, where the Nanooks host the Northern Michigan University Wildcats in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series at 7:07 p.m. Friday and 5:07 p.m. Saturday.

“But right now,” Martinsson added, “it’s just collecting every win and that will help us climb the ladder and get home ice for sure.”

The Nanooks are in third place in the WCHA at 13-12-0 overall and 11-8-1-0 conference for 34 points in the standings. The top eight teams in the 10-team conference at the end of the regular season advance to the playoffs, and the first through fourth-place teams get to host a best-of-three, quarterfinal series.

Martinsson also goes into this weekend ranked 17th in NCAA Division I for saves percentage. His .925% efficiency also ranks third in the WCHA for overall games. 

“There’s a lot of team effort and preparation in general,” Martinsson said. 

“Obviously, I’m trying to improve my game on a daily basis.”

The 6-foot-1, 178-pound netminder has encountered 456 shots and allowed 37 goals in 16 games this season for the third-place Nanooks (13-12-1 overall and 11-8-1-0 for 34 points in the standings).

“There’s a lot of team effort and preparation in general,” Martinsson said. “Coach (Erik Largen, head coach) has provided us with penalty-kill opportunities and how to kill penalties.

“Obviously, I’m trying to improve my game on a daily basis.”

Something else which has helped Martinsson and fellow Nanooks goalies Gustavs Grigals (sophomore) and Emil Gransoe (freshman) is they work together for 30 minutes before each practice.

“Credit to (assistant coach) Joe Howe for helping us be prepared and developing our games,” Martinsson said. 

“After every game, we go through video — what we did good, what we did bad.”

Martinsson and the rest of the Nanooks are coming off a good weekend against the Ferris State Bulldogs in a WCHA series in Big Rapids, Michigan.

Martinsson denied 34 shots in a 2-0 win Friday night. The shutout in the Ewigleben Ice Arena was his second of the season and fifth of his career.

He registered the same number of saves Saturday in a 6-3 win which swept the series.

“Anton has been really good,” Largen said Wednesday at the Carlson Center.   

“Obviously last weekend, getting a shutout on the first night and the second night, doing a lot of good things. Even when they (Ferris State) came back and tied up at 3 (in the second period), he stood tall and made a couple of big saves.”

This season, Martinsson is 7-8-0 with a 2.37 goals against average, which ranks 28th in Division I and fifth in the WCHA.

“He’s been good all year, he’s been very consistent,” Largen said. “Our goaltending’s been awesome and it was no different last weekend against Ferris.”

For his career, Martinsson has a 24-41-5 record with a 2.83 GAA, and .905 saves percentage. He’s played in 73 games for 4,069 minutes and 19 seconds, making 1,831 saves among 2,023 shots and allowing 192 goals.  

Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.