Marquette forced a shot clock violation with eight seconds left to preserve a 9-8 win over Georgetown on Saturday afternoon at Valley Fields. It was the Big East opener for both squads, and at the end of the day, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles sit alone in first place in the conference at 1-0 and 6-1 overall on the season.
MU led the game 9-6 less than three minutes into the fourth quarter after Ryan McNamara scored his fourth and then his career best fifth goal of the game to open the final period. However, Marquette would take just four shots for the rest of the game. Georgetown did what they did best in this game: responded to Marquette's scores. McNamara's goals to open the period was just the second time in the game where the Golden Eagles had scored consecutive goals, and that meant it was the Hoyas' turn to hit the scoreboard. Chris Donovan scored his second goal of the game less than a minute after McNamara hit for his fifth, and Craig Berge cashed in a Blaine Fleming slashing penalty to make the game 9-8 with 7:10 left to play.
Marquette had their chances for insurance, but Georgetown's Nick Marrocco was up to the test. The sophomore net minder made two monster saves in the final six minutes, although he had to rely on a ground ball from Greg Galligan to end the Marquette possession on the second one with two minutes left to play. Marquette nearly ended Georgetown's attempt at a rally with less than 90 seconds left when Liam Byrnes broke up a Georgetown pass, but the Hoyas managed to maintain control of the ball. GU head coach Kevin Warne called timeout after that to settle things down and following that, the referees said "y'all are shooting this with time left on the clock" by putting the stall shot clock on with 38 seconds left.
Except it seemed that no one told Georgetown. Five seconds left, four, three, two... and the ball was still below the goal line. Donovan rolled around the back of the cage and fired, beating MU goalie Jimmy Danaher.... except the shot clock had already expired long before Donovan had a clear lane to shoot, much less before the ball had crossed the goal line. I knew it, the blue & gold clad fans in the stands at Valley Fields knew it, but Georgetown didn't. They wasted their chance to pull the game even in the waning seconds and force overtime. Even though Marquette never had a comfortable lead in this game, I suddenly have a better idea of why the Hoyas are now 1-8 on the season.
McNamara was obviously the leader for the Marquette offense in this one, since he set a personal record with five goals in the game. Conor Gately advanced his Marquette career records for goals and points with his marker at the 7:32 mark of the first quarter. Jacob Richard had nine ground balls to tie the single game program record that he shares with Liam Byrnes and Zachary Melillo. Speaking of Melillo, he won 71% of the faceoffs in the game to move his season rate up to 67.7%.
Who wants some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Brace for impact, kids. Marquette gets an opportunity to launch themselves into the NCAA tournament conversation in their next game. Next week Saturday, Marquette will host Villanova with faceoff scheduled for 1pm Central. The Wildcats were ranked #8 in the country last week and beat Fairfield in their only contest since that poll came out. It'll be one of four chances Marquette gets in their final six games to beat a ranked team, so things are about to get real difficult real fast.