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'Everybody leads in their own way': Leadership, hard work and determination propel Moose Lake Area forward

Moose Lake Area head coach Reilly Fawcett talks about her team's season, the leadership from seventh graders all the way up to seniors, and how hard work has been paying off.

Girls hockey players in red, white and blue uniforms compete against players in black yellow and white uniforms on an indoor ice sheet.
Moose Lake Area players Lily Ludwig (10), Gabby Gamst (19) and Megan Hattenberger (5) celebrate after scoring a goal against Marshall School on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, at Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

MOOSE LAKE, Minn. — After four consecutive seasons of having a sub-.500 record, Moose Lake Area girls hockey has found success through young leaders, hard work, and determination, to finish up the 2021-2022 season 18-7-1.

The road to success this season wasn't something that came easy for the team. With a freshman goaltender and a couple of seventh graders on the roster, the team is very young.

"Everybody on our team leads in some way," says head coach Reilly Fawcett, a former Proctor/Hermantown and Bemidji State player, who is in her second year with the team after she wrapped up her professional career overseas and now is a physical education teacher at Moose Lake Elementary.

When talking about a team that is so young compared to other squads in northeastern Minnesota, Fawcett has found it both a challenge and hopefully a rewarding positive in the future.

"You see that skill difference and even size difference," she says about the young players on the team, but "what might be a negative now will turn into a really big positive (in the future)."


One of the the youngsters who had a standout year this season was freshman Mallory Hartl, the starting goaltender for the Lady Rebels who posted about a .940 save percentage. "She's always constantly wanting to get better and asking what she can do in the offseason ... I think she has a really bright future in hockey," Fawcett says.

Another standout freshman that has turned into a leader on and off the ice is Sandra Ribich, who lead the team in points this year with 36. "She's a great kid, she cares about school, she works hard in everything that she does," her coach says.

Even though five seniors will be departing the team this offseason, there are no juniors on the roster, so there will be no turnover in 2023.

The team has taken a turn this past season, having their first year above .500 since 2016-2017.

"We're a smaller school, we don't have the depth like Proctor/Hermantown or maybe Cloquet," says Fawcett, but the team has still found ways to succeed. Three games this year had double digit scoring in favor of Moose Lake, and the Lady Rebels were only shut out once. "Good teams find a way to win."

Fawcett says that things are looking good for the team ahead and that they are constantly looking to take that next step. "We will be the hardest working team ... every practice is an opportunity to get better."

For more on Moose Lake's season this past year, including more insight on some of the key players, a story about a crazy overtime winner with a short handed roster, and a few things to look forward to for next season, make sure to watch the full interview below or listen to the full podcast.

Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth and high school hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies.
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