Marquette Wire

Club hockey wins first MACHA title

Photo+courtesy+of+Jennifer+Schwichtenberg
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Schwichtenberg

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Schwichtenberg

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Schwichtenberg

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The MACHA Silver Conference Trophy is headed back to Marquette. The Marquette hockey team (30-7-1) avenged last season’s championship game loss by defeating Robert Morris-Peoria, 4-2 in Sunday’s Silver Conference Championship game.

Coach Will Jurgensen admitted he was nervous throughout the championship game, but was proud of how his team came through under pressure.

“I’m not going to lie, I was nervous before and during the game, so when the buzzer rang it was a relief but also incredibly exciting,” Jurgensen said. “You’re going to get every team’s best hockey in the playoffs, and for our guys to bring their best game three days in a row is the real reason we won this. The whole team deserves all the credit because this is a team game and all 20 guys left it all on the ice and ultimately won the trophy we set out to achieve from week one.”

In what’s been a theme throughout the season, Marquette used comeback victories in each game to win the championship.

Friday, the Golden Eagles took on rival Wisconsin-Platteville in their first round matchup. As expected, the Pioneers played much better than their No. 8 ranking suggested, and brought Marquette into overtime with the score tied, 3-3. However, sophomore Will Podewils scored to break the tie and give Marquette the 4-3 victory. Freshman Robbie Arner was in goal and got the victory.

The Saturday matchup pitted Marquette against No. 6 Nebraska after the Cornhuskers upset Iowa State in the first round. Junior Thomas Place returned to the net after taking a week off due to injury and was gutted in the first period for three goals, giving Nebraska a 3-1 lead.

However, Marquette went on a massive six-goal run while Place shut out Nebraska in the next two periods and the Golden Eagles won 7-3. Senior assistant captain Tyler Schwichtenberg and sophomore John Stillman had two goals each in the victory.

In Sunday’s championship against No. 2 Robert Morris-Peoria, Place continued his great performance closing out Saturday’s game by holding Peoria to only two goals. With the score tied 2-2 in the third, Schwichtenberg scored the go-ahead goal and Marquette eventually won 4-2.

Along with winning the championship trophy, Schwichtenberg was also named MVP of the tournament after scoring a combined five goals during the three games. Schwichtenberg said he was happy to win the championship game in his third title game appearance.

“Throughout the tournament, each person on the team worked hard so that we could bring some hardware back to campus,” Schwichtenberg said. “We won each of our battles and outworked our opponents. As a senior, it is awesome to finally win this championship considering it was our third time in four years making it this far.”

Senior captain Matt Vuoncino reflected on what winning the tournament meant to him.

“We’ve played a lot of hockey this season, had our share of ups and downs, but we set out the season with winning the MACHA being one of our goals,” Vuoncino said. “To see my team rise up to the challenge that the coaches, other captains, and I set was a great feeling. Our success isn’t because of one individual, but it’s our trust and confidence in each other. When we need to push through, I have faith in every one of the guys next to me to get their job done, and I think that’s what makes this team so special.”

After winning the MACHA Silver Conference, Marquette will play in the regional next weekend for a right to play in their second Nationals in three seasons. The team’s first game is against Robert Morris White Friday night at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, Ill.

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