This past weekend, the Icebirds boarded their Peoria Charter coach bus, and took off to the Pettit center in Milwaukee. There, they played two games versus a tough Marquette opponent.
The Birds’ are a team of fast skaters, with a lot of finesse and skill, Marquette plays a different style, as they roster a bigger, more physical team, that lacks speed.
The differences were apparent in Friday night’s game as the ISU squad used their speed to carry the puck to the outside on the extremely wide Olympic ice surface of the Pettit Center. Braden Norton cashed in first during the first period on a nice backhand shot that beat the goalie on the stick side. 5 minutes later, Marquette answered, beating Evan Casas on a rebound garbage goal. The score remained at 1-1 until Saller took a pass from Freitag, and buried a goal to take the lead going into the second.
The second period saw sloppy play from both teams. ISU and Marquette struggled to make good passes, and find quality shots on net. The trend ended with 5 minutes remaining in the period, as Marquette’s number 11 tied the game on a wrist shot.
The third period had both teams battling for the lead, and both goalies making clutch saves to keep their teams in the game. Evan played an outstanding third period, not allowing a single goal. The offensive attack of the Icebirds came alive with 5 minutes left in the game, when Senne dangled his way through Marquette’s defense, and scored the game winner. Boyle ended the games scoring with an empty net goal, and ISU went to their hotel with a win under their belt.
At 2:45 the next day, the two teams were at it again. Off of the opening faceoff, Zimmerman skated the puck into the Marquette zone and let a slap shot fly. The goalie never saw it coming, as it soared into the net just seconds into the game. Unfortunately, the early momentum quickly faded as Marquette tied the game just minutes later, when a wrist shot beat Katie Goeing on the stick side.
The second period was all Marquette, as they scored 3 goals in the first 10 minutes to put ISU down 4-1. Norton’s line tallied for the second time, as Freitag and Zim were both in on Braden’s goal, which made it 4-2 going into the third.
About halfway through the third, the score remained at 4-2, but ISU made it into a closer game when Petropoulos jammed in a rebound that was lying in the slot. He fought off two Marquette defenders, and battled through a painful elbow injury, to help his team get back in the game. With the new score being 4-3, the Icebirds thought they had a chance. But Marquette put out the late game spark by burying a fifth goal with just a couple minutes left. The final score was 5-3, and the Icebirds got onto the bus with a loss.