Last week, Marquette got kicked around at the face off X, as they went without a victory until the second half. This week, it was a different story. MU won the first two face offs of the game and scored the first two goals of the game. That gave the Golden Eagles a jumpstart for the game and they carried that energy for an 11-9 win, their first on the season.
The game wasn't without drama, of course. After Ryan McNamara and Kyle Whitlow gave MU their good start, Hofstra came back to tie the game at two on goals by Drew Coholan and Sam Llinares. McNamara would push MU back into the lead before Torin Varn activated his Weather Dominator and lasered a goal past JJ Sagl to knot things back up at 3.
That's when the defense kicked in. Marquette would score the next four goals of the game, including three straight by Tyler Melnyk to take a 7-3 advantage. It took MU more than 25 minutes to complete that run, and they would hold Hofstra scoreless for nearly 30 minutes before Lance Yapor broke the drought for the Pride. Sagl was the star of the second period, making great save after great save to keep Hofstra from finding the back of the net.
Whitlow finished off his hat trick with two goals with a man advantage midway through the fourth quarter. Those two gave Marquette a four goal lead again, and Jerry Nobile responded to a Llinares goal with a tally of his own to keep it there. MU had a bad final minute to the game, giving up two goals 28 seconds apart, but by then, it was already too late.
It was a big game for a number of Golden Eagles. Head coach Joe Amplo played and coached at Hofstra, and assistant coach John Orsen played for the Pride when Amplo was an assistant there. Nobile, Cullen Cassidy, and James Raveret all transferred from Hofstra to Marquette, and there are seven Long Island natives on the MU roster. Most notable amongst that group of seven is Sagl, who had what Amplo called the best game of his career in front of a strong MU contingent in New York. Sagl finished the day with eight saves.
Tyler Melnyk was the points leader for Marquette, tallying three goals and an assist. Hofstra was led by five points (2G, 3A) from Llinares.
STAT WATCH: Marquette won 12 of the 24 face offs in the game, a marked improvement on last week, and more importantly, better than they did last year. Marquette was a little careless with the ball, recording 10 unforced turnovers on 30 offensive chances. That's 33.3 per 100 offensive opportunities, worse than the 27.5 per 100 from last year.
Up Next: Marquette has won four of their last seven games, with the three losses all coming against ranked opponents. That trend will be put to the test one way or another as they travel to Columbus next Saturday to face Ohio State. The #9 Buckeyes lost a three overtime thriller to Johns Hopkins in their opener, and they face Massachusetts tonight in a match that will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network, starting at 8pm Central. Marquette lost their first ever Division 1 game to OSU by a final score of 18-8.