Howie Q&A: Duluth Marshall hockey sniper George Grannis

Duluth Marshall hockey star George Grannis, on the 11-5-1, 15th-ranked/Class 2A Hilltoppers and his strong start (26 goals, 42 points in 17 games): “We had a couple bad losses and just beat Denfeld. We have to keep working hard and win. Once we find the heart in everyone, that’s our key to success. Last year was kind of a blow-up year for me personally, I guess. I credit Coach Brendan (Flaherty) and our coaching staff. This year is showing all the hard work I put in during the summer and the off-season, and all the training with the coaches. The off-the-ice work is starting to show up on the ice. I was surprised at the beginning of the season how well it was going — and now it has started to level out. I’m so happy for our team success, and even our losses have been close games. I like winning, and the individual success is always fun when it’s combined with winning.”

Grannis, on his approach to his senior season: “There really wasn’t pressure. I knew to reach my goal to play after high school, I had to step up. When pressure’s there, I show up. I didn’t feel the pressure at the beginning of the year, and I’m not really feeling it now. I’m not worrying about it and just playing my game.”

Grannis, assessing his game: “I think I have good hands and see the ice well. I’m pretty strong for my size, and I’ve got good wheels.”

Grannis, on the upcoming Section 7AA tournament where the Hilltoppers will battle against likely No. 1-seed Duluth East, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, Andover and Elk River: “We’re competing in the best section in the state. We lost to (Duluth) East (3-2 in OT, at Essentia Duluth Heritage Center), to Cloquet (4-2, at Cloquet), but I really believe come playoff time it will be a different story. These next couple games, I really feel we’ll pick it up on the road, get a winning streak going and ride it into the playoffs.”

Grannis, providing a scouting report on the mighty Hilltoppers: “We have a super-strong defensive corp — four, super-talented, easily all No. 1 defensemen. We have two good lines, and added some depth with Danny (Klatt) and Dakota (Oman) coming in late – depth Marshall hasn’t had in the past. Our compete is unmatched, and we don’t give up. That’s one of our strong suits.”

Grannis, on his post-high school hockey plans: “I’d like to play D1 hockey. There’s colleges on the table. Talking with our coaches, the reason I’ve had success is because I’m focusing on the Marshall season, not thinking about the next step.”

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