Club hockey splits with Bradley in eventful series

Sterling Silver


Trib File Photo
Trib File Photo

The Marquette men’s club hockey team battled Bradley in what turned out to be a very eventful home opener for the Golden Eagles. The two teams combined to score 19 goals across the two games, have two players ejected and give fans two very exciting games in Marquette’s 3-2 victory Friday night and 8-7 loss Saturday. 

Friday night, a first period power-play goal by sophomore Corey Quinn from senior Tyler Schwichenberg gave the Golden Eagles an early lead. Two Bradley goals in the second period brought the Braves ahead and secured a 2-1 lead through the second period. As the defensive struggle continued to hold, Marquette got its best scoring chance late in the period with a Bradley two-minute minor penalty at the five minute mark of the third period.

Seizing the man advantage, coach Will Jurgensen took a huge chance and pulled their goalie with 4:30 left on the clock. Even with a Golden Eagle player in the box as well, Jurgensen wanted to take advantage of the 5-on-3 as long as he could.

With another Bradley minor at the 2:40 mark, Marquette was able to counterattack and equalized with a Schwichenberg goal from sophomore John Stillman in the nick of time, as there were only 47 seconds left in the game. Jurgensen viewed the decision as a no-brainer given the deficit.

“I knew as long as we kept two guys on the puck, the other team wouldn’t have a chance to ice it all the way down,” Jurgensen said. “As a coach, it made sense to give it all we could with the man advantage instead of waiting a minute to essentially do the same thing.”

The goal bought Marquette five more minutes of playing time, and after the goalless extra period, the game went to a shootout. After eight shooters went for each team, the raucus crowd was able to celebrate a 3-2 shootout victory in the first home game of the season.

“The morale after that win is something that can carry a team through the whole season,” Jurgensen said.

Before Saturday’s game, Jurgensen reemphasized the importance of the victory the night before as well as pointing out the need for more a bit more aggressiveness. He definitely got it in a much chippier second game.

Marquette got off to a quick start in Saturday’s game with a power play goal from Stillman off a rebound, his second of the weekend. After a quick Bradley response, another goal came from sophomore Colin Telmanik after coming out of the penalty box, giving Marquette an early 2-1 lead.

But the aggression began to flare up in the second with six penalties in only eight minutes. At the 10-minute mark, a fight in front of Marquette’s goal broke out and subsequent language with the referee got Bradley’s first player ejected. The period concluded with another three goals for Bradley, giving the Braves a 4-2 lead after two periods.

The third period started fast with four goals in the first seven minutes from Stillman, Schwichenberg, sophomore Will Podewils, and senior Tyler Zanon, giving Marquette a daunting 7-4 lead with only 13 minutes left. Another Bradley player was thrown out around the 10-minute mark, swearing about in-game calls and breaking his stick as he left the arena. But the large lead eventually slipped as Bradley worked their way back into the game with three power-play goals to end regulation time at 7-7.

Overtime looked like it would once again lead to the second shootout of the weekend, only to be thwarted by a 3-on-1 opportunity and goal with only seven seconds left in extra time.

Despite the loss, Jurgensen believed Saturday’s physical affair was necessary for the continued growth of the team.

“I think for us it’s about understanding that physical play leads to turnovers,” Jurgensen said. “I think it was evident today (Saturday) that our defensemen need to be more physical in front of the net. We have a big team, and I think the physical aspect of our game is something we need to continue to improve on going forward.”

Overall, Jurgensen viewed the weekend in a positive light, conscious of the team’s ability to come back in games later in the season.

“To come into two third periods down and being able to tie the games up shows a lot of character,” Jurgensen said.

Marquette travels to Cincinnati, Ohio for a three-game road trip against the Miami Hurricanes, Xavier Musketeers and Oakland Golden Bears.