With less than a minute left in the season opener for the Marquette club hockey team, the Golden Eagles were tied with the Aurora Spartans. The teams seemed destined for overtime, but the Spartans’ Joe Jablonski scored with just 22 seconds left in the game, handing Marquette the opening night loss. It was Jablonski’s third goal of the game and the Spartans’ first win in program history.
Captain Ryan Zanon said there were still positives to take from the 5-4 loss.
“Despite a loss in our home opener, I felt the team played well,” Zanon said. “There are a lot of new guys so it was challenging going into a game not having played with each other before. I was really impressed by the heart our team showed to keep fighting throughout the game to tie it up late in the third period.”
A loss was not the way the Golden Eagles wanted to start the season. Last year, Marquette went 27-4-5, finished first in the Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association Silver Division, and made it to nationals for the first time in the team’s history.
“The team has its eyes set on returning to Nationals this year,” Zanon said. “Now that we’ve tasted what it’s like to be at the top, we expect nothing less, and this year’s team has the talent and mindset to get it done yet again.”
Reaching nationals should be an achievable goal for Marquette, as four of the team’s top five scorers from last year are returning. Leading point scorer Dominic Zanfardino, as well as Tyler Schwichtenberg, Austin Carlson and Zanon will be able to give the Golden Eagles the offense they need to put opponents away. Goaltender John Foley provides valuable experience between the pipes and will command the defense again this season.
Zanon said there is an expectation for the team to perform, and there is still ways for the team to improve.
“For the program, we want to continue to strive to make a name for ourselves and continue our winning ways,” Zanon said. “We’ve received a lot of recognition these past few years due to our successes; however, there are still many people that we would like to impress.”