Patti Marshall’s time with the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team is coming to an end, and the Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minn.) standout would like nothing more than to go out on top once again.
Marshall will try to lead the U.S. to a second consecutive title at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, which will take place next month in St. Catharines, Ontario.
“It’s sad to see that it’s coming to an end, but it’s awesome being one of the older players on the team and being able to take charge and help the younger girls,” Marshall said.
In 2015, the 17-year-old Marshall, a native of Thief River Falls, Minn., helped lead the U.S. to its fourth world title and first since 2011. The squad took the title in Buffalo, N.Y., becoming the first team in U18 program history to win on home ice.
“It was unbelievable,” Marshall said. “I think that it took awhile to hit how great it was to actually win because the last two years we didn’t reach our objective, but we were finally able to complete our goal.
“You finally look back, let it sink in and realize what you actually accomplished.”
Marshall wants to do it again next month. If the U.S. manages to win gold, it would be the first set of American U18 team to claim back-to-back championships since the 2008, ’09 squads.
“I think last year helped a lot because we were a very close team and we had a lot of chemistry together,” Marshall said. “I think we’re all really excited. You can’t even put it into words. I think everyone wants it bad, especially the girls who were there last year. It’s important to show that we can come back just as strong if not stronger.”
Capturing the championship last year was a particularly sweet feeling for Marshall, who was a member of the U.S. U18 team that won silver in 2014. She also participated in three U18 Series against Canada.
Now, Marshall plans to take that experience as one of the leaders of this year’s team and pass it along to her teammates. She is one of seven players who were part of last year’s squad that captured the championship.
“This year, we’re making sure everyone is comfortable going into it, so we can get there and start working hard,” Marshall said. “There are a lot of younger girls this year, but there are a lot of good returners and leaders always willing to help.”
Looking back on her first year, Marshall admitted nerves because she wanted to play well and fit in with the rest of the group. She quickly realized that there was no reason to be nervous.
Marshall wants to pass that message to the rest of her teammates.
“I love coming back to be a leader and trying to show the younger girls how it’s done, so they can come back and do it again,” Marshall said. “It means everything to me. Every time I pull on that jersey, it’s such an honor and I’m so grateful to be here.”
Marshall, who was recognized as one of the best girls’ high school hockey players in the country, helped Shattuck-St. Mary’s to a USA Hockey 16U national title in 2014. She will play college hockey at the University of Minnesota next year.
“Born and raised in Minnesota, it’s everyone’s dream to go to [Minnesota] and play there,” Marshall said. “I love it there. It’s going to be awesome and I’m very excited.”
The previous four years at Shattuck prepared Marshall for her time at USA Hockey and upcoming career at Minnesota.
“I think coming to Shattuck has made a world of difference for me,” Marshall said. “Hockey alone has been great, but living at the dorm, becoming more independent and schooling was hard, so I should be prepared for college.
“The first year was a little rough, but after that I realized it was the best decision I ever made.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.