Patti Marshall’s consistent play leads Minnesota’s defense

Marshall has recorded 13 assists this season.

Freshman defender Patti Marshall handles the puck at Ridder Arena on Oct. 29, 2016.

Maddy Fox, Daily File Photo

Freshman defender Patti Marshall handles the puck at Ridder Arena on Oct. 29, 2016.

Erik Nelson

Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota has a few notable hockey alumni, including Wild forward Zach Parise and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. 

Minnesota women’s hockey has an alumna from the school who has played in every game this season — defender Patti Marshall.

Marshall has scored one goal and recorded 14 points. She has a plus-minus rating of six in her sophomore season with the team.

Head coach Brad Frost said Marshall’s play has been steady so far.

“[Marshall’s] one of the most consistent defenseman in the whole country,” Frost said. “You know what you’re going to get from her. She’s got some offensive ability from the blue line as well as rushing the puck. She’s an intelligent, team-first type of player.”

Last season, Marshall scored three goals and recorded 10 assists. Her plus-minus rating was 27, the fourth best for the Gophers in 2016-17. 

Before 2016-17, Marshall played for her high school, but was unsure if Shattuck-St. Mary’s would be the right choice.

“I had no idea what it was going to be like, but 100 percent would do it again in a second,” Marshall said. “It was incredible.”

Minnesota teammate Emily Brown got to know Marshall well when they played for the U.S. National Team at the 2016 Under-18 World Championships in St. Catharines, Canada. The U.S. won the gold medal that year.

“We clicked well [at the World Juniors] and here we are today,” Brown said. “On the ice, she’s so steady and sound. You never have to worry about anything crazy happening out there. Off the ice, she keeps your mind at ease. She exemplifies what one of our coaches says, ‘never too high, never too low.'”

As the Winter Olympics approach, Marshall said it would be incredible if the U.S. won gold for the first time in 20 years.

“Being at some of these national team camps and seeing how hard they work, I feel like they finally deserve it this year,” Marshall said.

But at this point in her career, Marshall’s championship aspirations are focused on Minnesota.

Minnesota will host the NCAA Frozen Four March 16 and 18. The Gophers last won the NCAA title in 2016. Minnesota (19-8-2, 12-6-2-0 WCHA) plays St. Cloud (6-17-3, 4-13-2-0 WCHA) in its series this weekend, which is the second-to-last of the regular season. After the team faces the Badgers Feb. 16 and 17, they head into postseason play.

“That would be incredible to do it in front of your hometown and all your fans,” Marshall said.

Frost said he wants Marshall to become more confident in her play as her sophomore season comes to a close.

“The more confidence that she continues to gain, the better she’s going to be,” Frost said. “I see her as a potential Olympian one day. As soon as she starts to believe that, I think her game will continue to get to the next level.”