Marquette club hockey (25-7-1) proved their early season success was not a fluke, with another home sweep, this time against Loyola-Chicago. The Golden Eagles outscored the Ramblers over the series, 13-5, en route to blowout wins in each game.
Friday night, the team’s senior class skated out individually to a raucous applause from the crowd and met their parents with roses in the pregame, senior night ceremony. After the introductions, Marquette got going quickly with a goal from senior Tyler Schwichtenberg on a quick counter by Marquette.
After a relatively quiet first period, Marquette blew up in the second period in what would be a recurring theme throughout the weekend. Sophomores Will Podewils and Kellan Buddy each scored within the first 10 minutes. A minor penalty gave the Ramblers a power play goal with eight minutes remaining, reducing Marquette’s lead to 3-1. But four more goals from Podewils, sophomore Corey Quinn, senior Paul Gunza and freshman Marc Shipbaugh in the last seven minutes gave the Golden Eagles an insurmountable 6-1 lead. Gunza’s second goal of the day added to the lead in the third period and despite two late goals by Loyola, completed the 7-3 victory
Coach Will Jurgensen was proud of the fan turnout and how his team handled the huge crowd.
“We had a lot of people here and filled all four of our buses,” Jurgensen said. “The guys played and responded to the atmosphere. You’re always a little hesitant to see how that first period goes with the large crowd, but the guys really took it to them.”
Saturday’s game did not start the way Marquette was hoping. The first 10 minutes of the game were mired with a number of turnovers in the defensive zone, which gave the Ramblers a bevy of man advantages. But sophomore goalie Alejandro Anderson was able to limit the damage, giving up only one goal and keeping the game close.
Jurgensen was a little disappointed on how his defense started the game, but praised the overall performance of Anderson.
“Last weekend, I had to pull (Anderson) because the guys came out flat and weren’t ready,” Jurgensen explained. “I told them today before the game ‘you guys really hurt Alejandro last weekend so don’t do it again’. They almost did, but Alejandro kept us in it, especially in the first ten minutes. He was peppered but responded.”
After a difficult first 10 minutes, Marquette returned to its scoring ways, starting with a fantastic pass from Quinn up the ice to sophomore John Stillman, who put it home. It took Marquette only 44 seconds to score again, this time coming from sophomore Adam Benkovich. After surviving the offensive onslaught to start the game, Marquette had a 2-1 lead.
The second period was explosive for the Golden Eagles once again. Freshman Brian Kennedy gave a great pass to Shipbaugh, leading to a man advantage and score just more than three minutes into the period. With just under ten minutes left, Stillman made Loyola pay for a minor penalty with a power play goal.
In what was the play of the weekend, Stillman circled around the offensive zone with the puck, alluding defenders, then striking on a gloveside shot, giving Marquette a 4-1 advantage. Stillman scored his third goal of the game just three minutes later on a 4-on-3 power-play. A late third period goal from Marquette along with a goal from Loyola with six minutes remaining capped off the 6-2 victory.
Along with Anderson’s great performance in goal was the hat-trick from Stillman, which Jurgensen credited to hard work.
“He’s working harder, and that’s what I’ve tried to stress to him,” Jurgensen said. “He’s a huge kid and he scores goals when he works hard. When he does that, he has a performance like he did Saturday.”
Following their home series, Marquette will play its final series of the season on the road against Aurora University.