The Marquette club hockey team had a face-off to the left of the Northwestern goaltender with more than half of overtime expired. Marquette lost the face-off but got the puck in the corner, and passed it straight to Zach Wahl on the right point.
The Northwestern right winger shifted in front of the goaltender, providing the perfect screen for Wahl. Wahl ripped a slap shot from the point and the puck found its way into the back of the net, clinching Marquette’s 3-2 win.
“I feel like we should have played a little better,” Wahl said. “It wasn’t our best game, but we held onto it and it felt great to win that in overtime and not go to a shootout.”
The Golden Eagles (7-2-0) faced a tough Northwestern team this weekend and battled to notch the sweep. The 3-2 victory Friday and 4-2 victory Saturday extended Marquette’s winning streak to seven games. The team has not lost since Sept. 20.
Marquette’s win Friday was the team’s third overtime victory in as many games. Captain Ryan Zanon said the victories have built team morale after a lackluster start.
“It’s absolutely huge,” Zanon said. “Coming down to the third period, whether we’re down, whether we’re up, whether we’re tied, our team has so much heart right now that we’re just going to keep riding it until it’s over.”
Wahl played a major part in Marquette’s victories, notching his first three points of the season in the two games. Wahl’s first point came on a pass to Tyler Zanon late in the second period. Zanon went one-on-two against Northwestern defenders, made an outside-in cut before rocketing a shot from the top of the slot and taking a hit. The shot squeaked through the Northwestern goaltender’s five-hole and trickled into the back of the net. The goal gave Marquette a 2-1 lead and momentum heading into the third period.
Matthew Vuoncino made the biggest play of the game. A Northwestern forward put a shot on net, and while goalie John Foley managed to save it, it still made it past him and was inching closer to the goal line, but Vuoncino got his stick behind Foley and threw the puck out of the zone, saving what would be the game-tying goal. While Northwestern went on to score again later in the period, it could have won the game in regulation without Vuoncino’s save.
The Golden Eagles played a similar game Saturday. The team went up 2-1 in the second before relinquishing a late goal. Chris Dolan took over the game in the third. He caught a pass from David Fabris heading into the zone and sniped the Northwestern goaltender glove side. It turned out to be the game-winning goal and was Dolan’s first of the season.
One aspect of the game Marquette could improve on was special teams. Both teams had plenty of power plays as the physical game led to a crowded penalty box. This proved to be advantageous for Northwestern, as three of its four goals came on the power play.
“(The penalty kill) has usually been really strong, it’s just we were not in sync with it,” Coach Joe Cocking said. “We let them get the shots off, we weren’t blocking the shots.”
Ryan Zanon looked on the positives from the weekend despite the sub-par play.
“We seemed to struggle on the man disadvantage,” Zanon said. “They had a good power play and our goalie came up with some big saves at big times, but unfortunately we couldn’t solve them this weekend.”
Marquette takes its winning streak into next weekend to face the Arkansas Razorbacks, who travel to Milwaukee sporting their own six-game winning streak. Zanon is ready for the test.
“Arkansas comes in a very strong, very physical team,” Zanon said. “They’re hot on their own, so we’re going to take it to them next weekend and hopefully pull out some big wins.”
Sunday and Monday night puck drops are at 7:30 p.m. at the Ponds of Brookfield.