Looks can be deceiving. Take one look at North Allegheny junior, Lindsay Holdcroft, whose long blonde locks cascade beneath her shoulders, and you would never guess that she is one of the leading goalies in Pennsylvania high school hockey.
In fact, Holdcroft recorded a 2.00 goals against average in eight games during the month of January to earn Highmark Player of the Month honors from the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League. Holdcroft is the first girl to ever earn the award, which has been in existence for 16 seasons.
“I play hard,” Holdcroft said of playing in a league dominated by boys. “It’s been like that since I started playing with the boys.”
Last season, Holdcroft played goalie on the JV squad at North Allegheny and was called up partway through the season to backup for the varsity squad. This season she claimed the starting job with the Tigers varsity squad.
Holdcroft, who has garnered interest from a few Division I colleges, boasted a 2.25 goals against average while collecting two shutouts. When it comes to hockey, Holdcroft knows what it takes to play with the boys.
“The biggest thing is to keep my confidence up all the time no matter what happens,” Holdcroft said.
Holdcroft and the Tigers open the Class AAA Penguins Cup Series Thursday against Canon McMillan at Southpointe IceoPlex at 7 p.m.
“It’s hard to know what to expect from the payoffs,” Holdcroft said. “You just have to come prepared because it’s only one game (elimination).”
Regardless of what happens in the postseason, it’s already been a memorable season for Holdcroft and the Tigers. In January, North Allegheny took part in the outdoor PIHL Charity Series against Pine-Richland.
“Every time we play Pine Richland it’s always a good game,” Holdcroft said.
The game ended in a 3-3 tie. Holdcroft, the lone female in the game, made 24 saves in the match and was a major factor in keeping the Tigers in the game.
“I’m not surprised with the way she played,” North Allegheny head coach Jim Black said. “She’s played extremely well all season long. She’s made some incredible saves and kept us in the game when we had breakdowns.”
Holdcroft has played goalie for eight years now, and first got into hockey because her older brother, Jake Holdcroft, used to play.
“We used to play out in the driveway a lot and he would strap me up in the goalie pads to shoot on me, so that’s kind of how it got started,” Lindsay explained.
She played soccer until eighth grade and ran both track and cross-country until 10th grade. But she gave up running to focus on hockey, which is paying off.
Not only does Holdcroft hold down the No. 1 position between the pipes for North Allegheny, but she also plays in net for Team Pittsburgh, a AAA girls travel team. Between practices and games for both teams, Holdcroft hits the ice every day of the week and sometimes twice a day on the weekend. On top of hockey, she also maintains a 4.4 grade point average in school. She credits time management as the key to her success.
“I look up to my dad for the hockey stuff and my mom because she is a great time manager,” Holdcroft said.
Holdcroft’s father, Bob Holdcroft, serves as an assistant coach for the Tigers, and as head coach for the Team Pittsburgh Under-17 travel team. The girls on the team come from as far as Ohio to play for the team. Team Pittsburgh is part of the Mid West Elite League and plays against teams from places like Chicago, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Last season they qualified for Nationals and lost in the semi-final.
“Girls hockey has grown a lot,” Lindsay Holdcroft said. “A few years ago when I tried out for Team Pittsburgh it was almost like every girl made it just because we didn’t have enough players. But this year, I know for the Under-14 team so many girls came from places like Georgia and all over the place, so it’s growing a lot.”
Holdcroft has one word of advice for other girls who want to play:
“Go for it. We can play hockey too. We can play with the boys.”