Hockey prepares for second half of the season

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

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

As the Marquette club hockey season winds down, the team has made enormous strides in its development, from the coaching staff to the players. With 17 wins in the team’s first 25 games, Marquette is on pace to have a high seed in the MACHA playoffs with a shot at Nationals.

Much of the credit can be given to coach Will Jurgensen. In only his first season at the helm, Jurgensen has guided the Golden Eagles to a 17-7-1 record and could add two more wins before the semester concludes. He said his coaching ability has vastly improved from when he took over six months ago.

“The thing is, I didn’t really have the prospective (of being a coach) coming in,” Jurgensen said. “I didn’t know what to expect or how the guys would react to what I was trying to get across. I think what I’ve learned more than anything is just to slow down my thought process.”

Jurgensen pointed out that the team itself is coming together at the perfect time. While he pinpointed a number of players who have taken major steps in their growth, he said he believes it’s been the confidence and communication level of the team overall as to why the group has been so successful.

“It’s just the ways the guys talk to each other and you can kind of feel it in the locker room,” Jurgensen said. “We played a lot of games first semester and the team camaraderie is really good now as opposed to the beginning of the year, because no one really knew each other as well, especially the freshman.”

Something Jurgensen has reiterated to his team throughout the season is the importance of playing a full 60 minutes each game. With seven third period comeback wins, the team has shown the ability to play well for a period and win. However, Jurgensen thinks the difference come playoff time will be each player’s individual work effort during the entire game, putting the team in a better position to win the 50-50 plays.

“At the beginning of the year, you could take some shifts off, but when it gets to the playoffs, we’re only going to play the guys who want to work the hardest in practice and in games,” Jurgensen said. “We have the skill, but the guys have to all be working hard together. From what I’ve been able to see, when we work hard, the bounces go our way and the goals come. “

The team will play its final series of first semester this weekend against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. However, many players on the team will not be making the trip due to Monday final exams, leaving the team with a much shorter bench. Jurgensen laughed when explaining the series was a “scheduling mistake,” but clarified that the team is still looking to finish strong.

“It’s going to be a little bit of a different weekend because we are going to have to mix and match the lines a lot,” Jurgensen said. “We’re not going to do anything too crazy; it’s going to be about playing hard hockey.”

Following the series, the team will have off until Jan. 12, when the new academic semester begins. Their next scheduled series will be a home matchup with Loyola-Chicago. However, the team is currently looking to add a series against Wisconsin-Milwaukee to the schedule.

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