With a win and an overtime loss against Bradley University this past weekend, the Marquette hockey team held its third place standing in the Pacific Region of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, only one point back second place.
“We know there’s a target on our back,” said sophomore goalkeeper Robby Arner.
In Friday’s game, it was freshman forward Michael Desalvo and the Golden Eagles who struck first, scoring a mere 1:08 into the game. Two straight goals by Bradley put the Braves up 2-1 at the first intermission. From that point forward Marquette had all the momentum.
Desalvo scored the second of his three goals in the game 11:33 into the second period, and graduate student forward Christian Leathley added another score several minutes later.
In the third, senior forward Mitch Ellena tallied a goal five minutes in and Leathley closed out the game with his second goal with just over three minutes remaining, sealing a 6-2 Marquette victory.
“I thought the guys took a lot of good quality shots and, for the most part, we battled,” Jurgensen said.
Saturday’s game was a much more closely contested affair. Junior forward Johnny Stillman tallied two goals in the opening ten minutes and Marquette found itself with a 2-0 lead after the first period.
Bradley would score just under six minutes into the second to cut the gap in half, but a goal by Desalvo seemed to put the Brave’s chances out of reach. The period ended a 3-1 Marquette lead.
In the third period, the Braves fought back to score two unanswered goals and even the score at three apiece to force overtime.
With just over two minutes gone in overtime, Bradley defender Cody Esposito scored the game-winning goal, dealing Marquette a 4-3 loss – its first in five games.
“It was a tough loss for us but at the same time I’m glad it happened now,” Jurgensen said. “We can work to improve rather than having it later in our season.”
The bright spot for Marquette was Desalvo, who finished with seven points on the weekend. He was an impact player as both a scorer and a passer, scoring four goals and tallying three assists.
“His game continues to improve and you can see his confidence grow on the ice,” Jurgensen said of Desalvo.
The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for Marquette that dated back to November 20th. The good news for the Golden Eagles is that their push for an automatic berth to Nationals is still very much alive and fate is in their hands as a top-four team. Seven points separate 1st from 8th place. The Golden Eagles travel to Loyola-Chicago this weekend for their last regular season road trip before finishing the regular season with a home series against Butler.