MARQUETTE - The Marquette Bantam AA travel hockey team steadily improved over the weekend in a three-game road series at the Green Bay, Wis., Gamblers AAA Major squad.
The American Legion Post 44 team lost, then tied, then won in the Northern International Hockey League set and improved to 10-3-3 for the season.
"It was a good weekend, even though we only won one game," Legion coach Brian Nebel said. "We got better each game, and that's all you want to do ... be better than you were the day before, whether it's in a game or practice."
In a 5-3 loss Saturday afternoon, Marquette spotted the Gamblers 2-0 and 5-1 leads before unsuccessfully playing catchup. Nick Bink scored an early second-period goal to get the Legion on the scoreboard, then Chris LeMire scored two goals about 5 minutes apart as the game wound down.
Spencer DenBeste picked up assists on his team's first two goals, with single helpers credited to Joey Phillips, Justin Hendrickson, Branden Campbell and Tristan Ashbrook.
Travis Cameron made 31 saves in the Marquette net as his team was outshot 36-19.
Later Saturday afternoon, the teams tied 3-3 after the Legion held leads of 2-0 and 3-1. Marquette's Ryan Morrissey scored the only goal of the first period on a power play, assisted by LeMire and Campbell.
Bink and LeMire scored in the second period, each assisted by Shane Ring, before Green Bay got the only two markers of the third period to forge the tie.
Jack Eyler made 22 saves for the Legion as his team was outshot 25-20.
On Sunday morning, Marquette broke a 2-2 tie with two goals in the game's final five minutes for a 4-2 victory.
The late goals came on a penalty shot by Kristian Jackson and power-play goal scored by Ashbrook and assisted by LeMire.
"I can only remember being awarded two penalty shots in my career as a coach, and here we have our second one in two weekends," Nebel said, adding that his teams scored on all four attempts.
The Legion opened a 2-0 first-period lead with goals scored 29 seconds apart. Jackson got the first on a power play with assists going to Phillips and Ashbrook, and LeMire got the second unassisted.
Green Bay scored the only goal of the second period and another early in the third to tie the score 2-2 before Marquette's late-game heroics.
Cameron made 31 saves as Marquette was outshot for the third straight game, 33-19.
Hosting the Calumet Jr. Kings Oct. 21 at Lakeview Arena, the Legion Bantams posted a 7-3 win and a 4-4 tie.
In the opener, the Marquette squad got two goals and an assist from Bink. DenBeste added a goal and two assists, while Ashbrook (penalty shot) chipped in a marker and a helper.
Also scoring for the winners were Kristian Jackson, Donny Schultz and Caden Paquette. Also picking up assists were Phillips and Campbell.
Eyler made 26 saves in goal for Legion, while Calumet's Ian Carroll came up with 47 stops.
In the 4-4 tie - with Calumet tallying two unanswered goals in the third period to gain the deadlock - Ashbrook scored twice and collected a helper for Marquette.
LeMire and Paquette also found the back of the net for Legion, with Bink, Jackson, Hendrickson and Phillips (2) recording assists.
Cameron turned aside 32 shots on net for Legion; Calumet's Carroll stopped 32 shots, as well.
"We have to limit the number of unforced turnovers and be more concerned with team defense," Nebel said.
"We know we have offensive skills, but we have to limit the number of chances we're letting the other team get."
The Legion travels to Traverse City this weekend for the TC Cup tournament.