Jimmy Danaher made seven saves in his collegiate debut for Marquette and Ryan McNamara scored twice in the final 3:41, but it wasn't enough for a victory on Saturday against Jacksonville, as the Golden Eagles lost the Dolphins by a final score of 9-8.
As has been the case all season, Marquette got off to a strong start, taking a 1-0 lead on a Kyle Whitlow goal. As has also been the case, Marquette was unable to maintain momentum for the whole first quarter. Jacksonville bounced back from the early deficit with four unanswered goals, with the final one coming four minutes into the second quarter from Chase McIntyre. Tyler Melnyk would answer with two goals before intermission to cut the Dolphins' lead to just 4-3 at the break.
Jacksonville broke the ice on the second half on Quint Miller's third goal of the game, and the Dolphins would answer every Marquette goal, including getting two straight in between man up goals from Melnyk and Henry Nelson to expand their lead. With 7:31 remaining, Rob Moore closed out his hat trick to give the Dolphins a 9-6 advantage.
JU was able to put a lid on the Marquette offense, but as time seemed to be escaping, McIntyre took a 30 second pushing penalty, and McNamara capitalized on the EMO. Still down 2, Marquette needed to make something happen, and they got it when Liam Byrnes came up with a ground ball on a Duncan Clancy turnover. Once MU got the clear they needed, head coach Joe Amplo called time out and called McNamara's number again. The freshman scored just 11 seconds later, and after Cullen Cassidy won his 14th face off the game, Marquette was in business. But the Golden Eagles only managed one shot in the final 1:17. Bryan Badolato got his try on net, but Dolphins goalie Pete DeLuca made his eighth save of the game, and JU was able to run out the clock.
STAT WATCH: First, we'll start with a postgame quote from Amplo:
"Tomorrow in practice we're going to work on passing and catching," said MU head coach Joe Amplo. "In a game where we win the face off x and our goalie almost has a .500 save percentage we made too many small mistakes too win."
Cassidy took all 20 face offs for Marquette in the game, and as mentioned earlier, he won 14 of them for a success rate of 75%. That kind of success at the X was unheard of for Marquette last season, when they had a season long success rate of 42.9%, and here they let a strong start to possessions go to waste.
As far as unforced turnovers go, Marquette had 16 turnovers in the game, but only five of them were a result of activity by the Dolphins. That's nine unforced errors for the Golden Eagles in the game, and with 29 offensive chances for Marquette, that's a rate of 31.0 per 100 opportunities. It doesn't seem like it's much higher than last year's season long rate of 27.5 per 100, but remember: Marquette was REALLY BAD at unforced turnovers last year, so anything higher than 27.5 is bad.
Up Next: Things do not get easier for Marquette on their Spring Break road trip. They'll be in Durham, NC, on Tuesday to take on #3 Duke. The Blue Devils are 4-1 on the season with a 2-1 record against ranked opponents. They'll be on CBS Sports Network tonight at 5pm Central taking on Loyola (MD), a rematch of a NCAA opening round game in 2013.