Marquette Wire

Hockey faces tough challenge at Clash in the Corn tournament

Marquette will play two regional foes ranked in the top-10

Photo+by+Doug+Peters%2Fdouglas.peters%40marquette.edu
Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Jamey Schilling, andrew.schilling@mu.edu

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Although it sounds closer to a Stephen King novel than a college hockey tournament, this weekend’s Clash in the Corn tournament will go a long way in determining if Marquette’s dreams of reaching Nationals will remain a work of fiction.

Marquette will put its seven-game win streak on the line as it plays three quality opponents at this weekend’s tournament, hosted by Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. The Golden Eagles will take on two conference opponents, Nebraska and Colorado State, and concludes with a game against host Dordt Sunday.

In the first installment of the American Collegiate Hockey Association rankings, CSU is ranked No. 2 and Nebraska is ranked No. 7 in the Pacific region, while Marquette comes in to the tournament No. 4 in the region.

“Some of the best teams in our region are at that tournament,” Marquette head coach Will Jurgensen said earlier this season. “There are going to be a lot of people that vote on the rankings that are going to be keeping an eye on that tournament.”

Colorado State will likely be Marquette’s toughest matchup this weekend. The Rams showed they can score quickly and often in their 10-1 victory against Dordt and 16-3 victory against Northern Arizona University. Their offense will be a huge test for sophomore goalkeeper Robby Arner and his defense.

The main problem with this year’s Marquette team is inconsistency between first and second games. Marquette has shown a habit of making the first game close, and blowing out the same team the next day. The trend happened this past weekend versus Missouri State when the Golden Eagles won in a shootout on Friday, but routed the Bears in the next day’s game 10-1. The same happened in series’ against Aurora, UW-Milwaukee and Northwestern.

“We had our typical drastic change on Saturday,” Jurgensen said after his team’s big victory against MSU last weekend.

Another drawback of this Marquette squad is the heavy amount of penalties. This past weekend for instance, four of MSU’s five goals came off of a power play.

“They had a lot of power play goals, that was kind of the theme of Friday,” Jurgensen said. “We were undisciplined, we took a lot of penalties, and that resulted in some goals for them.”

Despite these inconsistencies, Marquette has found ways to win.  But they must play clean, disciplined hockey in order to come away with multiple victories this upcoming weekend to keep pace in a crowded DIII Pacific Region.

The Golden Eagles have been hot on offense lately, having picked up from where they left off last season. Through sixteen games, the team has tallied 90 goals, and averaging 5.63 goals per game.

The player to watch this weekend for Marquette will be junior forward Chris Dolan. Dolan is fourth on the team with eight goals scored this season, and has scored in each of the past four games.

“Him scoring (last) Friday led to a four-game goal streak, so he kind of has the hot hand right now,” Jurgensen said.

The Golden Eagles currently sit at 12-3-1, and are tied with Metropolitan State University of Denver for first in the Pacific Region with 25 points. With a seven-game win streak on the line, and the chance to impress the ranking committee, this weekend has huge importance for the team.

“It’s just all about trying to become more consistent and playing that good Marquette hockey on a regular basis,” Jurgensen said. “If we play the way we did Saturday, we have a pretty good chance to be successful.”

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