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As Shipbaugh rehabs, Marquette prepares for club DII season

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Club hockey practices in advance of its season opener at Notre Dame this weekend.

Club hockey practices in advance of its season opener at Notre Dame this weekend.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Club hockey practices in advance of its season opener at Notre Dame this weekend.

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The men’s hockey team will make its Division II debut next weekend at Notre Dame without one of its best players. Senior Marc Shipbaugh will have to watch from the sidelines after fracturing his pinkie two weekends ago. He is out for five to seven weeks. He underwent surgery and will travel with the team to help the coaching staff.

“I’ll still be around on the bench to play the leadership role and do a little bit of coaching,” Shipbaugh said.

With Shipbaugh sidelined, head coach Will Jurgensen will look to some veteran forwards to provide a spark. Sophomore RJ Denewith will shift to defense after a strong tryout. Junior forward Patrick Myers noticed Deneweth’s versatility in Myers’ first training camp with the team.

“RJ was playing (defense) in tryouts,” Myers said. “And he was doing a really good job.”

All of the roster additions were forwards, including five freshmen, one sophomore and one junior. Myers transferred from Loyola Chicago and is familiar with future opponent Notre Dame, as the Ramblers played the Irish last season.

“Physically, Notre Dame has typically been a bigger team,” Myers said. “(They’re) not necessarily a more physical team, but definitely a bigger team in size.”

Having played some Division II teams before, Myers is prepared to provide experience for a team that lost seven seniors last year.

“We lost a lot of size last year,” Shipbaugh said. “Three of our primary forwards were over six-foot and 200-plus pounds.”

The team has decreased in size, but they do not expect to decrease in talent. Shipbaugh has high hopes for the incoming freshmen.

“I’m actually excited to see how everyone does,” Shipbaugh continued. “I think our forwards are going to be very good. Even though a lot of them are new, I see a lot of potential.”

Myers also sees the advantages of having smaller, more agile forwards when facing tougher teams like Notre Dame.

“I think that the speed is a really good thing to have against them,” Myers said. “With our speed, I feel like we’ll be able to push through them.”

Freshman and fellow newcomer Nathan Farias is eager to dress up for the Golden Eagles and will be a player to watch.

“I want to learn from Coach Jurgensen, and I’m excited to learn the systems that Marquette plays,” Farias said. “I hope we can work well as a team together.”

Farias played in Highland Park, Illinois prior to coming to Marquette. His recreational hockey team was ranked in the top 10 nationally for AA minor league last year. Farias anxiously awaits his first collegiate start as a Division II club athlete.

“I’m not really sure what to expect yet,” Farias said. “It might be more physical than playing central states, and I’m excited for the move up to Division II.”

While the newcomers wait to see what practices hold, Shipbaugh doesn’t anticipate much change.

“We’re going to keep the routine the same,” Shipbaugh said. “Maybe faster pace, kind of assuming that Division II is just quicker speed. As far as drills and techniques go, I think we’d pretty much keep it all the same.”

The Golden Eagles travel to Indiana to fight the Irish this Saturday at 9:30 p.m in their season opener.

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