As Soderberg climbs UMD record books, her asterisk deserves an asterisk

Bulldogs fifth year senior goaltender Emma Soderberg has a denotation next to her name in the Minnesota Duluth record book like every other player who was granted a fifth season because of COVID-19. However, Soderberg has yet to play a full season in goal at UMD.

Minnesota Duluth plays Minnesota in NCAA Division I Regional Final for a trip to Frozen Four
Minnesota Duluth goaltender Emma Soderberg (30) makes a save against Minnesota on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis during an NCAA regional final.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — In the Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey record book, players who were granted a fifth season of eligibility for playing through the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21 are denoted with a ‘^’ after their name.

That includes fifth-year senior goaltender Emma Soderberg, who enters this weekend’s WCHA series against Minnesota State sixth in career saves (1,337), tied for third in career save percentage (.933), sixth in career goals against average (1.79), eighth in career wins (37) and fifth in career shutouts (12).

To be fair to Soderberg, however, that fifth-year denotation likely deserves an asterisk of its own, and not just because she only played 19 games during the shortened 2020-21 season. Soderberg was a backup her first two seasons at UMD, appearing in just nine games. She is only beginning her third season as the starter.

“The record that our kids are breaking or close to, the company they are keeping in Bulldog history is remarkable no matter how many years it takes you to do it,” UMD coach Maura Crowell said. “I’m really excited for her.”

The fourth-ranked Bulldogs host the Mavericks at 6 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at Amsoil Arena in their first home series and first conference series of the season. Soderberg — who broke a tie for fifth in career shutouts with fellow Olympian Jenny Harss after blanking Penn State — needs one more shutout to tie her former teammate, Maddie Rooney, for fourth all-time.


Soderberg backed up Rooney, an Olympic gold and silver medalist, as a freshman in 2018-19 and sophomore in 2019-20.

“Maddie is a great goaltender with everything she has done,” Soderberg said. “To be able to be there, too, that would be great.”

The program record for career shutouts is 20 by Kayla Black, who played 121 games for UMD from 2012-16. Black’s 121 games is second all-time to Rooney’s 122. Soderberg is tied with Patricia Sautter for seventh in games played at 58.

Bulldogs fifth-year senior defenseman Maggie Flaherty is having a career season thus far at UMD, sharing the team lead of seven goals going into this weekend's home series with Ohio State.
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To break Black’s career shutout record, Soderberg will need to tie Black’s single-season record of 10 shutouts in 2014-15. Soderberg’s six in 2020-21 is tied for third with Rooney while last year’s five are tied with five others.

Soderberg could already be tied with Rooney, but Crowell had freshman Hailey MacLeod relieve Soderberg after 46 minutes of a 5-0 win at Long Island University on Sept. 25. Crowell pulled Soderberg from a possible shutout last season at St. Thomas and two years ago at home against St. Cloud State. In all three instances, Soderberg had seen less than 10 shots and it gave the backup a rare chance to play.

Soderberg said she’s OK making way for a teammate, especially if the end result is still a win.

Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey team faces  Ohio State for national championship
Minnesota Duluth goaltender Emma Soderberg (30) makes a save against Ohio State forward Jenna Buglioni (10) during the NCAA national championship game on Sunday, March 20, 2022, at Pegula Ice Arena in University Park, Pennsylvania.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

“An individual stat is always fun, but at the end of the day, our team got a shutout (against Long Island) and that’s what matters going forward,” Soderberg said. “Whoever gets playing time, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m going to play when they want me to. I’ll step out when she wants me to.”

That selflessness is what Soderberg’s teammates love most about her. Everything she does is for the team.


“When you see her make one of the beautiful saves that she makes, or the puck is not going in the net whatsoever, it gives you a lot of energy just to play for her,” said Bulldogs fifth-year senior Maggie Flaherty, who has a ‘^’ by her name on the list for career assists by a defenseman. “The energy just builds from the goalpost on up.”

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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