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Golden Eagles look for revenge against UW-Platteville

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Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

Marquette club hockey (16-6-1) takes on the Platteville Pioneers in a rematch of last season’s Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association championship game. The 4-2 loss gave the Pioneers (6-6-0) the title and a chance to go to nationals, while Marquette’s season ended.

Despite the slower than usual start for the Pioneers, Marquette coach Will Jurgensen said the team is excited for the rematch.

“Like many of the teams in the MACHA, we have a lot of history with the Wisconsin-Platteville team,” Jurgensen said. “One of my most memorable moments was beating them in overtime during my senior night in front of a packed house. Unfortunately though, they are not all great memories. Needless to say, they are a very good hockey team and we know to expect a very competitive game going into their home rink.”

The key for the Golden Eagles will be watching out for star Pioneer forward, Nate Wojtynek. In only seven games this season, the sophomore already has nine points, including a four-goal game against Dordt College two weeks ago. Alongside Wojtynek will be the sneaky scoring from defenseman Andy Behrend. The junior assistant captain also has nine points on the season and has had a knack for finding forwards in space, garnering six assists in seven games.

Offensively, the Golden Eagles should be able to keep up their high scoring ways against Platteville goaltender Bryton Melenas. In four games, Melenas has a 5.17 goals against average and an abysmal .740 save percentage on the season. Melenas has given up 16 goals in his last three games, so if he does not play, the Golden Eagles should be prepared for backup keeper Gavin Falk. In his only three appearances, the junior has given up eight goals and has a .900 save percentage.

Jurgensen says the team has practiced well this week in preparation for the Pioneers.

“The guys have been playing very well lately so our preparation for Platteville will be much the same as the past few weeks,” Jurgensen said. “I feel like we’ve continued to progress as a team each week, so it’s important that we continue to improve on both our weaknesses and our strengths. Winning seven out of our last eight is a prime example of our team moving in the right direction and continuing to work hard as a team.”

After a week off for Thanksgiving break, the road trip will conclude with an appearance in South Bend, Ind., when Marquette takes on Notre Dame. The two games against the Irish will be the final games of 2014 for the Golden Eagles. Marquette will return home for its first series of 2015 on January 23-24, when it faces Loyola-Chicago.

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