The Marquette club hockey team got its own little piece of the big time Friday as it took the ice at the Bradley Center for a friendly against rival Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
The result was a 12-4 routing of the Panthers in which Marquette never trailed. The Golden Eagles held a ten-goal advantage for most of the third period before Milwaukee tacked on two goals in the final two minutes.
It was the first time the Golden Eagles had played at the Bradley Center, and for the team’s lone senior, goaltender R.J. Bennett, it was a special way to end a career between the pipes.
“Everyone was pretty excited, especially the freshman who got the opportunity to play on a professional rink in front of a bigger crowd,” Bennett said.
The scoring began with freshman David Fabris, who beat Milwaukee goalie Trevor Collins off a rebound right in front. Milwaukee junior Nick Burgette came right back with the answer for the Panthers, however, getting his own rebound and putting the puck right between Marquette starter Steve Dreher’s legs to knot the score at 1-1.
That was the closest the Panthers would get to catching the Golden Eagles as freshman Tyler Schwichtenberg put another rebound past Collins and less than a minute later, sophomore Kevin Dolan scored off a deke in front of the net to give Marquette a quick 3-1 lead.
The award for sweetest goal probably went to sophomore Sam Nader who took the puck in his own zone, carried it coast-to-coast, skated past two Milwaukee defenders, and lifted the puck over Collin’s right shoulder to put Marquette up 4-1.
The Golden Eagles would get one more goal from both Fabris and Nader while sophomore and freshman brothers Ryan and Tyler Zanon, junior and team captain Will Jurgensen, and freshman Sam DePaz picked up goals of their own.
While the Milwaukee bench maintained a quiet, somber tone throughout most of the contest, the Marquette bench got a little louder and rowdier with every goal scored. Dreher was mock-heckled by his teammates from the sidelines and one Golden Eagle received a round of joking boos from his bench as he skated past in celebration of a late goal.
“We had beaten them soundly in the past so we knew a little of what to expect,” Bennett said. “We weren’t going to take any chances and pulled away quick, and then we kind of pulled the throttle back a little bit. We started at full intensity, but as the game progressed it became more of an all-star game kind of atmosphere.”
The fun didn’t end there as later that evening, after the scheduled Milwaukee Admirals game, the teams returned to the ice for a shootout competition. This event proved to be a bit closer, although Marquette still prevailed 2-1 and Bennett finished his career at Marquette with a glove save to ice the victory.
“There wasn’t much pressure to the environment, it was more of a just-for-fun kind of event,” Bennett said. “It was nice to get out there and play one more time with the guys and to make my final save in the shootout.”