Rebels can't climb out of early hole


February 17, 2023

Dan Saletel

Moose Lake Area goalie #28 Mallory Hartl readies for a shot from Marshall #19 Ilsa Lindaman as the Rebels and the Hilltoppers meet in Cloquet Saturday for the section 7A semifinals.

A four-goal first period proved to be too much to overcome for the Moose Lake Area Rebels girls hockey team Saturday as they fell, 5-1, to No. 2 seed Duluth Marshall in the Section 7A semifinals at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet.

The first half of the first period featured up-and-down action as both teams came out flying, but neither team was able to score.

"I thought the start of the game was good for us," said Rebels coach Reilly Fawcett. "Things were going back and forth, but then they got that first goal, and it seemed to rattle us."

That first goal for the Hilltoppers came at the 8-minute, 41-second mark off the stick of Annie Bachand. A few minutes later, Duluth Marshall went up 2-0 at 11:23 on a goal by Ilsa Lindaman, who is the leading scorer in the state of Minnesota.

"She is a special player and tough to match up against because of her length," Fawcett said. "We played them twice in the regular season and we knew they had tall and lanky players and we prepared for it, but in that first period we panicked a little and we got running around a bit."

Following the goal by Lindaman, the Hilltoppers added two more tallies from Nina Thorson and Avery Lian at 12:28 and 15:58, with the latter goal coming on the power play.

"After the period we talked to the team about having to stay poised and to stick to our systems," Fawcett said. "In that six- or seven-minute gap where they scored those four goals, we did not stick to our systems, we let down during that span, and we needed to get back to what we know works."

The second period was a tightly played period by both teams. A big key was the defensive effort of the entire team and the impressive goaltending of junior goaltender Mallory Hartl.

"After the first period there were a couple of goals that Mallory felt she wanted back," Fawcett said. "She just decided she was going to shut the door the rest of the way and she was going to keep us in it and give us a chance."

After the scoreless second period, the Rebels had the tall task of trying to come back against a team that held a 27-12 two-period shot advantage over them and they had to do it with only 17 minutes to play.

"We told the girls that is all or nothing, and they knew they needed to respond," Fawcett said. "The girls came out and played a very good period, but it was just too much to overcome."

Trailing 4-0, the Rebels were finally able to get onto the board during a scramble in front of Marshall goalie Ray Anderson at the 7:42 mark when Hallie Klavu picked up a loose puck and slipped it into the net to cut the lead to 4-1.

"We got the puck deep and on the net and Hallie jumped into the play from her defensive position," Fawcett said. "That seemed to give us some momentum."

Dan Saletel

Unfortunately, it was too little and too late for the Rebels. Eventually Thorson added an empty net goal with 48 seconds remaining to ice the game in favor of Marshall.

"It was a tough loss, but we don't have any seniors, and I like the character this team showed in trying to fight back," Fawcett said. "I hope our girls take from this game that we have to play a full game."

Both teams put eight shots in net in the final period, and for the game Marshall outshot MLA 35-20.

The Rebels finished the season with a record of 13-11-2, while the win improved the Hilltoppers record to 20-6-1. Marshall was scheduled to play for the section title Wednesday night against top-seeded Proctor/Hermantown.


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