Jeremy Regeon got Westminster Christian the lead when it mattered and Levi Wright closed the deal to claim the Wickenheiser Cup.
Regeon scored early in the third period, and Wright fired a clearing shot that turned into an empty net goal with 32 seconds to go, as Westminster beat Marquette 4-2 to reclaim the club’s second straight Wickenheiser Cup championship on Tuesday at Scottrade Center.
“It feels fantastic to finish on top and even better to do it with these guys,” said Wright, the Wildcats standout senior captain. “No words can explain it. “I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
Regeon scored just 4:52 into the third stanza to give Westminster (15-9-4) the lead and break a 2-2 deadlock.
Wildcats goalie Samuel Haupfear was stout through the evening as he stopped 24 shots.
“It’s a pretty good feeling,” Westminster Christian coach Dean Penberthy said. “It was an up and down season and we kind of peaked at good time for the playoffs started and we rolled through it. It was a phenomenal games, both sides, two evenly matched teams. It was a great game and he just happened to be on the good end this time.”
Marquette pushed the action in the early stages of the game. Marquette, making its second Wickenheiser Cup championship game appearance in three seasons (18-9-2) got goals from Zachary Maupin and Jacob Rapp. Goalie Nicholas Stewart made 28 saves.
Maupin gave the Mustangs a 1-0 lead with a goal just 1 minute, four seconds into the action.
Aidan Penberthy answered for the Wildcats with a goal off the faceoff to tie it 1-1 with 8:59 left in the first period.
Brothers Justin and Jacob Rapp combined to regain the lead for Marquette as Jacob Rapp went high into the right corner for a 2-1 lead with 7:06 to go in the period.Wright answered for the Wildcats with his first goal on a power play off a Cole McWard pass to tie it 2-2 with 4:25 to go in the period.
“We’re a gritty team, we never gave up and we never surrender,” Wright said.
Both teams came out flying with shots in the first period.
In the second period, the teams defenses locked in, and the goalies held their own with no goals being scored.
“Once the goalies settled down they were pretty good,” Marquette coach Gary Tockman said. “Both goalies were good but my goalie Nick Stewart was superb. That game could have got out of hand awful quick.”
Regeon struck for the game-winner at the 3:12 mark of the final stanza. He took a feed from Michael Woll and took the puck top-shelf from the left circle past Stewart.
“I was just trying to shoot on goal and wasn’t really trying to pick a certain spot,” Regeon said. “I did see the top left open so I tried to aim in that direction. Michael set me up with that great pass so I would have done it without him.”
Marquette pulled Stewart in the last few minutes for an extra skater but Wright’s empty net tally stopped the Mustangs chances for a comeback.
“It was up and down a couple of times and you could tell guys were kind of getting tired and trying to gut it out and they snuck one in and that’s how it goes,” Tockman said.
“There is something to getting here and it’s hard to get here and you don’t like losing but its hard to get here back to back years or every other year but be proud and work as hard as you can.”