Ben Marshall Q&A
- Updated: November 19, 2015
Rookie Defenseman discusses his red-hot start and his transition to the pros with IndyFuelHockey.com
One of the primary points of emphasis for the Indy Fuel coaching staff leading up to the 2015-16 was retooling their blue line. To improve upon a defensive core that was for the most part a fledgling group in their inaugural season, the Fuel injected their back end with some experience with the additions of defensemen Zach Miskovic and Kevin Quick.
While the veteran additions have had an instant impact on a young Indy squad (both Miskovic and Quick were named captains by head coach Scott Hillman,) it was a rookie defenseman that made the biggest splash through the first month of the ECHL season. In what has been a torrid start to his professional career, Ben Marshall finds himself pacing all Fuel defensemen in scoring with eight points (1g, 7a) through the club’s first 11 games. The 23-year-old from Mahtomedi, Minn. has recorded points in five of his last six outings, and is tied for third among league first-year rearguards.
Prior to his team’s upcoming three-game weekend, the product of the University of Minnesota chatted with IndyFuelHockey.com, touching on his early offensive prowess, his adjustment to the pros on and off the ice, and the fierce rivalries that exist inside the walls of the Fuel dressing room.
FUEL: Now that you have made it through your first professional training camp and the first month of the ECHL season, how has the last five or six weeks gone for you?
MARSHALL: It’s been fun. It’s a grind, a little different than college – a different atmosphere and weekly schedule with hockey – but it’s been good. We have a really good group of guys here, you don’t feel like there are rookies and veterans, you feel like you are all part of one team.
FUEL: Did you ever expect to be able to step into the lineup and contribute offensively like you have so far?
MARSHALL: I guess I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to – it was my goal to step in and be an impact player on this team, and I believed that I could. I worked really hard this offseason and I hoped it would carry over and I think so far things are going well, now I just want to stay on top of things.
FUEL: A lot has been made about the veteran leadership on the blue line with Miskovic and Quick, but how important have you and the fellow rookie defensemen, such as Nick Mattson, Sam Jardine and Patrick Koudys, been to the early success for this team this season?
MARSHALL: Everything trickles down. It all starts with the vets; when the rookies are doing well I think that starts with the leadership from the older guys. They are doing a really good job, it was really easy to come in [to the team] and not feel excluded. The older guys make you feel part of the group right away, and that’s the key for success with young guys.
FUEL: Have the older defensemen helped make your own transition onto this team and the ECHL any smoother?
MARSHALL: Yeah I think so, I was actually roommates with Quickie at the Rockford camp, so we got to know each other a little bit before [Fuel] camp began. You realize what [the veterans] have been through in their hockey careers, and you understand that their experience level brings a lot to their game. Quickie and [Miskovic] love to direct traffic and really try and help guys out, and that’s a quality that makes them such good leaders.
FUEL: After spending the last four years at the NCAA level with the Golden Gophers, what has the on-ice adjustment been like to the professional game?
MARSHALL: It’s been good. In college I tried to work on my defensive game a lot, which took away from my offensive ability. Now, coming into my pro career I thought that maybe I could change my style a little bit and become more offensive-minded. The pro game is tough, the schedule is a lot different – in college you just play on the weekends and practice four days a week – but right now I’m focusing game-by-game and trying to prepare myself, because that’s what you have to do at this level.
FUEL: How has life been off the ice? How is it going from college classes to living with the guys here and spending a lot more time on the road?
MARSHALL: It’s been nice – in college you really want to build that bond with your team but it’s tough because everyone has their own class and tutoring schedules. It’s really nice being able to focus on one thing out here, you prepare your body every single day and you get to mentally focus on hockey. [The pro hockey lifestyle] is good because we get to see each other a lot more so it creates that chemistry on the ice.
FUEL: Speaking of college hockey, you have a lot of old rivals on this team. Mattson played at North Dakota, Jardine (Ohio State) and Koudys (Penn State) played against you in the Big Ten and you met Daniel Ciampini’s Union team in the NCAA championship game a couple years ago. Is there any residual animosity among all the college guys on this team?
MARSHALL: There’s a lot of hostility, we like [giving each other a hard time]. It’s all in good fun though, we make bets on the weekends regarding our college teams winning and losing. I would have to say that Ciampini gets to me the most because of the national title game [Ciampini’s Dutchmen beat Marshall’s Gophers to win the 2014 NCAA Championship], but it’s all in good fun and we like talking about it. At the end of the day it creates a bond between all of us; we have that college background in common so it’s nice.
NEXT HOME GAME: Saturday, November 21 vs. Quad City Mallards – 7:35 p.m. Indy has already knocked off the the Mallards once on home ice this season and looks to do so again in the middle of a three-games-in-three-nights stretch. Help the Fuel support Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana by donating a non-perishable food item or making a monetary contribution. The first 1,000 ticket holders that donate will receive an Indy Fuel lunch bag!
Single-game tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster or at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum box office, while a variety of different ticket plans and group specials are available by calling (317) 925-FUEL or visiting IndyFuelHockey.com. Don’t miss out on anything from the Fuel in 2015-16, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the Fuel on Facebook.