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Marlins unleash uptempo style in Tronnes’ first year

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Mitchell defenseman Jenna Grosdidier carries the puck during a game against Sioux Center on Jan. 26 at Mitchell Activity Center. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

The Mitchell Marlins have improved in the SDAHA girls hockey standings in each of the last three seasons and a new boss behind the bench could be key in maintaining that success.

Chris Tronnes takes over as the head coach, replacing Jessica Rezac after the Marlins finished third in the regular season standings and at the state tournament last season. Tronnes was an assistant for Rezac, and although not much will change strategically, he does favor an uptempo, aggressive system.

That aggressiveness suits Mitchell’s personnel, which features youth on defense and explosiveness on offense with the trio of Ashley Jones, Jenna Grosdidier and Kelsey Amick, who combined for 93 goals in 20 games to lead the Marlins to a 16-5 record.

“I’m a little bit more uptempo,” Tronnes said. “I like to forecheck heavily -- so two people on the puck in the offensive zone. They’re all really quick and skilled players, so they should fit in quick with how they play the game.”

Jones returns at forward after notching 33 goals and 20 assists last season -- nearly doubling her point total -- while Amick tallied 27 goals and 26 assists to earn a share of the team lead in points as a freshman.

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Brooke Jarman also had a breakout season as eighth-grader, scoring 20 goals and 31 points after posting two points the previous year. Mitchell put in 6.8 goals per game and it should help in a push to close the gap at the top of the standings against state champion Aberdeen and runner-up Sioux Falls.

“We should be able to compete with any team,” Tronnes said. “We’ve played defensive games and we’ve played games where we scored a bunch of goals. It just depends on the way the game is going.”

Mitchell’s offense may shoulder more responsibility as a defensive group that includes two seventh-graders and a new goaltender gains experience. Senior Jenna Grosdidier has gone back and forth between forward and defense, but she will remain on the blue line this year.

Grosdidier adds an offensive punch with 33 goals and 16 assists last season and ability to move the puck in her own zone. She will also be an anchor in front of freshman goaltender Sadie Kludt.

“With the two younger defensemen back there, she kind of locks it down,” Tronnes said. “She takes control when she’s out there. She makes good passes, she can skate it up if there’s nothing open. She really controls the play back there.”

Mitchell’s season opener was scheduled for Dec. 1, but the recent snowstorm postponed the game and the Marlins open the season against Huron at 8 p.m. on Friday at Mitchell Activity Center.

Related Topics: HOCKEY
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