The Irish coming off a three win weekend sweep of the over the Motor City Hawks boarded the bus on Thursday Night after a late practice and headed north across the Mac on a nine hour trek for the only regular season meeting with the Marquette Royales. The team got some breakfast and rest after and early morning arrival and then headed to Northern Michigan University for a campus tour and an official visit for many of the Irish players. Once the tour ended the team had a team dinner and then off to the legendary Lakeview Arena for a late game which started at 9:30 pm.
The Irish minus the services of fore-checking specialist Tristan Cruz and Brandon Mayes despite an anemic forecheck and the offensive prowness of Christian Ramage and Eric Long jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal from Tyler Blackburn.
In the 2nd period Marquette scored twice to take a 2-1 lead and held on to that lead until 14:34 of that period when Chase Tackett scored a highlight goal as while drawing a penalty while being held and managed to find the back of the net while being knocked off his feet. to tie the score 2-2.
The 3rd period the Marquette Royales took advantage of two Irish turnovers to go up on the Irish 4-2 within a matter of 2 minute span and although the Irish would bring the score to within 1 on a Joe Hays goal, Marquette scored on an empty net to go up 5-3 which would hold to end the game.
On Saturday Afternoon the Irish and Royales faced off again for a late afternoon game that would be the pregame before the Marquette Iron Rangers and Calumet Senior A game that featured guest appearances by the Hanson Brothers of SLAPSHOT fame. With the return of Cruz and Mayes to the line up the Irish appeared to be ready for a new day of battle , however before game time both Chase Tackett and Eric Long were scratched due to injuries. However the lads were ready to battle despite missing a few from the clan.
In the first period Marquette went up early on the Irish 2-0 despite the Irish controlling the play offensively and great play by goaltender Ron Shocker. At 18:10 of the first Nolan Jakrewski converted a beautiful pass from Dakota Potter to make the score 2-1 at the end of the first.
The second period was a hard hitting battle in which the Irish continued to dominate puck possession but the Royale squad was true to form and continued to battle both physically and with speed putting both Shocker and Jordan Gilbert whom entered the game at 11:54 of the 2nd period to the test. However once again the energy twins Brandon Mayes and Jacob Smith stepped up and connected off a great fore-check turnover to tie the score 2-2 going into the 2nd intermission
The 3rd period began with the Irish coming out in a fury as just .26 in the period Tristan Cruz shelved a perfect pass of the stick of Tyler Blackburn to put the Irish up 3-2. That lead would hold throughout most of the 3rd period as the Irish kept putting pressure on the Marquette goaltender who kept turning away every Irish attempt. With the play in the Irish zone and Marquette on the power play after a Tristan Cruz boarding penalty, Marquette tied the score at 15:13 of the 3rd period which would hold throughout regulation. However the Irish played most of the last 4 minutes in the Marquette zone unable to find that elusive back of the net but the pressure proved to be too much for the Marquette club whom took a very costly penalty before the end of regulation time.
Going into overtime the Irish found themselves on a 4 on 3 power play, Detroit started the OT with their offensive duo of Potter and Jakzrewski up front with Cody Dombrowski and Joe Hays on the blue line. The quartet had 3 great scoring opportunities in the first minute of overtime. But it took till the 3rd change of overtime that Dombrowski found Steven Sewell standing alone in the high slot and fed him a pass that enabled Sewell to place a perfect wrist shot over the Marquette's goaltenders shoulder for the win.
" After the game the boys took in a little of the Iron Rangers - Escanaba game and were offer compliments by the Hanson Brothers whom stated how much they enjoyed watching the Irish boys style of play."
With out sounding too cliche with all of the history and traditions surrounding the Irish players at Lakeview Arena it was definitely a weekend of "Old Time Hockey" that would have made Reggie Dunlop head for the Aces.