Beyond the Playbook: Duluth Marshall girl’s hockey thriving despite smaller roster

Beyond the Playbook: Duluth Marshall girl’s hockey thriving despite smaller roster

Beyond the Playbook: Duluth Marshall girl's hockey is thriving despite smaller roster

The Duluth Marshall girl’s hockey team, poised with a young core, have exceeded expectations with a small roster, and a lot of heart.

“We’re a family and just stick together,” said Avery Lian, a junior defender for the Hilltoppers. “You know, there’s been ups and downs with people getting sick and hurt, but we’re all just always together, you know, cheering each other on and hoping for the best and just working hard.”

After a heartbreaking 5-4 loss in the Section 7A championship game last year, the Duluth Marshall girl’s hockey team has bounced back in a major way. After a 1-1 start, the Hilltoppers pieced together 11 straight wins, catapulting them towards a 12-1 record.

But what makes them so special is their tight knit bond. The roster of just 15 girls is much smaller than the average roster.

But as the saying goes, although they may be small, these Hilltoppers are mighty.

“We have a smaller roster, but we don’t use that as an excuse,” said Callie Hoff, the Hilltoppers Head Coach. “The girls don’t either. To us, that really doesn’t matter because they go out there and they work so hard to have the success that we’re having. So yeah, we lost players last year, but other girls have stepped up and filled those roles.”

“I think it’s really the chemistry we have as a team and the culture we presented,” added Ilsa Lindaman, a senior forward. “I think ever since I was an eighth grader, the culture at Marshall has been just so different than any other team. We really go team first and I think you can see that a lot of games we play, we make you put all 100% effort.”

“Playing all these other teams with huge rosters and huge benches and then there’s just the little team that we have, I think that’s just brings us all closer and just creates such good bonds and stuff,” said Lian.

The Hilltoppers are averaging close to five goals per game, and have outscored their opponents 62-16 this season.

“I think gritty is like a really good way {to describe us}. I know a lot of north teams are gritty and I think that’s how we play and I think that’s what we have to do to win our games,” said Lindaman.

“We work hard to get the puck and score goals and a lot of them aren’t pretty, but, you know, it’s just you got to do what you got to do,” said Lian.

Additionally, like any good coach does, Hoff is teaching invaluable lessons on and off the ice.

“I’ve got a great group. Like I said, the culture is amazing. So just continuing to have success on and off the ice and making sure that we’re preparing them for whatever brings them in the future,” said Hoff.

The Hilltoppers will look to extend their winning streak on December 26th against Hudson.