Beyond the Playbook: Duluth Marshall’s Anderson finding success after recovery from rare condition

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The Duluth Marshall boys hockey team may only be sitting 2-6-1 so far this season, but four times they’ve allowed only three goals or less. That’s thanks in a big part to senior goaltender Sam Anderson.

Facing over 204 shots in seven games he made 177 saves. However his position between the pipes was only made possible after winning a battle with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) at the age of 13.

"From dealing with that at such a young age you of come out of it like wow, life is throwing some stuff at you. Been able to return to normal these last couple years and haven’t have any issues pop up. Just regular check-ins at the Mayo [Clinic] but life is back to normal and it’s feeling good," Anderson said.

In 2017 his colon was riddled with polyps, so he had surgery to remove both of the affected areas: the colon and rectum. Knowing he can take on anything Anderson has transcended his illness and found success on the ice, perhaps thanks to a few lucky charms.

"I always do the left side of my gear first, but my big thing is peanut butter cups before a game. I know it’s kind of weird but that’s my big thing," said Anderson.

Not only is Sam a peanut butter cup fanatic, he equally loves the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Bulldogs hockey team.

"It’s a big part of me growing up. I kind of credit that to my dad, he has only missed two Bulldog playoff games in his life and I don’t think I’ve missed one yet," Anderson added.

That helped him fall in love with the game at an early age.

"You get to surround yourself with the game and its a good time. I get to go to games Friday, Saturday night, and then come back and play whatever weekday (for my team), it just brings it full circle."

The passion for hockey also allows Anderson to be a goalie not only for Duluth Marshall, but also the Minnesota Wilderness 18U AAA team.

The Hilltoppers are now preparing for day two of the Bill McGann Holiday Classic on Wednesday. They’re set to drop the puck against the University School of Milwaukee at 1pm at Mars Lakeview Arena.