Ohio State women’s hockey went on the best postseason run the program has ever seen this season, and junior forward Emma Maltais’ keen eye for making plays was the backbone.
Maltais, who took 34 percent of the votes for best female athlete, appeared in all 38 games and finished the season with 59 points — an Ohio State record for single-season points that slated her at No. 6 in the nation.
“Playing in the WCHA is something that’s very challenging,” Maltais said. “Every team is good and that challenge has really helped me be consistent. You have to be ready for every weekend.”
With the season cut short due to COVID-19, Maltais finished with 142 career points, ranking No. 5 in program history with a season still to go.
Of her 59 points, 40 came from assists, which shattered Ohio State’s record for single-season assists. Maltais finished No. 4 in the country at 1.05 assists per game.
She netted her 100th career point against Bemidji State Nov. 2, an accomplishment shared with only 11 other Buckeyes.
“I would describe my game like a playmaker. I take pride in seeing the game and seeing the ice and seeing the play develop,” Maltais said. “Having patience with the puck before I make a play, I think my speed and my power can help me puck-retrieve and get me in the position to make the play. My fitness has a lot to do with it, but I also take pride in all zones of the ice.”
During an Oct. 4 victory against St. Cloud State, Maltais notched her first career hat trick with four goals, which tied a program record and the NCAA single-game high for the 2019-20 season.
Maltais finished the season with three other four-point games.
Her fiery scoring carried her on a six-game point streak from Dec. 14 to Jan. 18, during which she notched 15 points from two goals and 13 assists.
One of her most clutch assists came in the first round of the WCHA Final Faceoff March 7 against then-No. 3 Minnesota, against which Maltais dished the puck to junior forward Tatum Skaggs to put Ohio State on the board for the first time, down 2-1. The Buckeyes went on to win the game 4-3 in overtime.
“I’m really happy to have that memory with some of my best friends and basically my sisters,” Maltais said.
By the end of the season, Maltais was selected as an American Collegiate Hockey Association second team All-American and first team All-WCHA for the third year in a row.
The Burlington, Ontario, native was named a top 10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the top female college hockey player in the country. Only five Buckeyes have gotten it before her, and Maltais said it’s something she never dreamed would happen.
“To be amongst those players that some of which I know from high school and some of which I play against, they’re amazing players and just to be mentioned along them is an honor,” Maltais said.
Approaching her final season, Maltais sits just 28 points behind Ohio State’s career record, and with 31 assists, she would top that career leaderboard, as well. Maltais has some team goals in mind, too.
“Next year, it’s easy for me to say I want to win a national championship. But before that, there come steps,” Maltais said. “I want to take it one step at a time throughout the season, and I want to make this season the best I possibly can and put forth my greatest effort to help my team win.”