Sometimes, the puck just doesn’t bounce your way.
Marquette’s season came to an abrupt close in the first game of the ACHA Pacific Regional Tournament. The Golden Eagles lost to Robert Morris-White 7-4 and failed to qualify for the ACHA Nationals in March.
While he was disappointed in the result, coach Will Jurgensen was proud of his team for making it all the way to the regional tournament.
“Considering only the top 10 teams in the region have a shot to play for nationals is an accomplishment in itself,” Jurgensen said. “I think Marquette is capable of making regionals every year and that should be something we strive for each season. The competition was very strong at this year’s regional, and it shows that Marquette is still building in the right direction to be among teams like Colorado State, Arkansas, and Northern Arizona.”
Robert Morris-White scored two quick goals and took a 2-0 lead in the first period of the Friday matchup. Marquette’s first two goals came in the second period from sophomore Corey Quinn and freshman Brian Kennedy. However, the defense continued to struggle in the second period and the team trailed 4-2. Robert Morris-White extended its lead quickly in the third period, going up by three goals.
After the goal, the Golden Eagles used another third period comeback to get the deficit back within one. Two goals from senior assistant captain Tyler Schwichtenberg and sophomore Adam Benkovich made it 5-4 with eight minutes left in the third period.
Despite the numerous shots on goal, Marquette could not find the equalizer. After giving up two empty net goals, the Golden Eagles fell 7-4.
Senior captain Matt Vuoncino said he thought the team played great, but the luck wasn’t on their side.
“We dominated the game, and out-shot them 51-23, but we just didn’t get the bounces we needed,” Vuoncino said. “We made a couple costly mistakes that ended up really hurting us, but I can’t fault our team’s effort at all; the guys left it all out there.”
For the seniors, not only was the season over but it was also the last competitive game of their Marquette careers. The realization is just starting to set in for Schwichtenberg.
“It hit me when the buzzer sounded that this would be my last game at Marquette,” Schwichtenberg said. “It hurts that it’s over but then again all good things come to an end. Time to start the next chapter of my life.”
Vuoncino had a similar experience at the end of the game, but sees a “bright future” ahead for the program.
“I’ve played hockey since I was 5 years old, it’s going to be weird without it,” Vuoncino said. “I wasn’t thinking about it much until that last buzzer rang, but since then it’s been slowly creeping in. But it’s reassuring to know that I am leaving behind such a strong legacy in this program through Coach Will and the underclassmen.”