Hockey splits weekend against Illinois

The Marquette men’s club hockey team split their weekend games against Illinois.

The team suffered its first loss of the season on Friday 3-2, but bounced back on Saturday to win 7-5. The club improved to 3-1 overall after facing two tough opponents early on in their season.

Friday’s puck drop was a late one as the game did not start until 10 p.m. The team started the game slow and found themselves battling from behind early on. Marquette’s usually high-scoring offense was held to only two goals. Head coach Will Jurgensen said his team lacked the sharpness and effort they needed to win the game.

“We didn’t show up, and if you don’t show up to the game you’re going to get beat,” Jurgensen said. “A lot of times you come into Friday’s game not knowing your opponent so you have to play your game and we didn’t.”

After their first loss, Marquette had a chance to rebound Saturday afternoon. This time the Golden Eagles came out stronger, ending the first period tied 1-1. After a back-and-forth second period, the team found themselves ahead 4-3 with a goal from sophomore forward Conor Coyne. In the third period, Marquette scored two late goals and held on to win 7-5, defeating the Illini.

Jurgensen said the biggest difference in the second game was their excitement and energy level. Marquette created more scoring opportunities and was able to put the puck on net.

“We started to win the battles and create some turnovers,” Jurgensen said. “We made it more difficult for them to bring the puck out.”

Something Jurgensen said would be a big contribution this season was the team’s depth. On Saturday it showed as six different players scored, helping their offense rebound from the previous day.

Marquette will have to raise its level of play if it hopes to compete at Nationals. Jurgensen said the team’s mindset at this point in the season is to just keep working and learn from their mistakes.

“There are lots of things we talked about in practice that we haven’t implemented yet,” Jurgensen said. “We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.”

In the next couple of games, Jurgensen said the team will have more opportunities to try new things and figure out what works.

“Its tough to learn when you’re playing good teams,” Jurgensen said. “If you make a mistake against them it’ll cost you.”

Next up Marquette will host their first home game of the season. The team will face Robert Morris University-Peoria at the Ponds of Brookfield Friday night and again Saturday afternoon. The weekend games will be Marquette’s first two league games.