Marquette Wire

MU inching closer to Nationals appearance

Hockey to face Arkansas in Regional tournament

Photo+by+Nolan+Bollier%2Fnolan.bollier%40marquette.edu
Photo by Nolan Bollier/nolan.bollier@marquette.edu

Photo by Nolan Bollier/nolan.bollier@marquette.edu

Photo by Nolan Bollier/nolan.bollier@marquette.edu

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Fresh off a Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association Silver Division championship win over Iowa State, Marquette hockey is riding a seven-game win streak into its regional tournament. The team will need to win two more games to advance to the Division III National Tournament in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“A lot of people were saying Iowa State should have been ranked ahead of us,” assistant coach Peter Shutt said. “But coming out today and showing that Marquette is legit is a confidence-booster for the team, and we’re looking forward to continuing that momentum into Regionals next weekend.”

The first challenge for the Golden Eagles in their push for Nationals takes place in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they’ll play Arkansas. This will be the first meeting between the schools this season, and since scouting reports aren’t available for teams beside statistics on the American Collegiate Hockey Association website, head coach Will Jurgensen and his team will be in the dark up until the two teams meet this Friday.

“They’re kind of just that team that we really don’t know much about,” Jurgensen said. We’re going to have to develop our own scouting report about them.”

One thing that is apparent is that this Arkansas team can score. The Razorbacks score 7.5 goals per game. On the flip side, they’re also extremely stingy on the defensive side, conceding only 2.6 goals per game.

“There’s no doubt they’re a good team,” Jurgensen said. “You don’t get to Regionals otherwise.”

Both of those marks are better than Marquette’s averages, as the Golden Eagles typically score 6.1 goals per game and concede around 2.9 goals per game. If the statistics are any indication, this game won’t be a cakewalk for Marquette.

“There are no easy wins anymore,” graduate student forward Christian Leathley said. “Every game is going to be tough.”

If Marquette can manage to snatch a victory from the Razorbacks, they’ll be one win from the coveted goal the team has eyed all season. Who they will play in that matchup remains the question. As the highest seed in the tournament, Marquette will play the lowest remaining seed if they win. The most likely matchup would be against sixth-seeded Aurora or seventh-seed UW-Platteville.

Regardless of who the team plays this weekend, the Golden Eagles will certainly come out with a chip on their shoulders, as they reached this stage last year but made an early exit after Robert Morris-White ended their season in the first round.

If the team manages to advance, it will be the their first Nationals appearance since the 2012-’13 season, back when Jurgensen was team captain.

“I told the guys at the end of (the MACHA Silver Playoff Championship) that it’s exciting, but our season’s not done,” Jurgensen said. “There’s a bigger trophy at the end of the tunnel. So today we enjoy it, but at practice tomorrow, we regroup.”

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