Hockey is a sport that requires the effort of every player on the ice to win. A winning mentality is a “we” based mentality. The Arizona Wildcat hockey team won Western Collegiate Hockey League Conference Championships in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons because of that mentality, but the team’s offense has been continually driven by two highly skilled forwards, Anthony Cusanelli and Bayley Marshall.
This duo is the one-two punch of offensive production that elevated the team after becoming a part of the program. Both score big goals in big games and are committed to leading by example for their teammates — and are a threat every time they hop over the boards and hit the ice.
Cusanelli joined the team in the 2017-2018 season and made an immediate impact, posting 51 points in 28 games with 31 goals.
“Cusanelli is that recruit that elevates your program,” head coach Chad Berman said. “He is the type of premier chip that can change your program and he did change our program.”
The next year in 2018-2019, Marshall joined the University of Arizona hockey program and created a dynamic duo with Cusanelli, playing the left-wing with Marshall playing center on the team’s top line.
Berman immediately recognized the chemistry between the two. Marshall would go on to score 74 points in 38 games posting 27 goals and 47 assists. Cusanelli recorded a second straight 51 point season with 19 goals. What makes this combination so effective is that each player is a skilled goal scorer but in different ways, there is no single answer to shutting both down on a shift.
Cusanelli is a left-shot on the left-wing who prefers a catch and release snapshot, utilizing his hockey sense and a feel for goalies tendencies to light the lamp. Berman described Cusanelli as having the most accurate snapshot he has ever seen.
“In my opinion, Cusanelli is the best sniper in the American Collegiate Hockey Association,” Berman said. “If there is a puck on anyone’s stick to win a tournament, I would want it on Cusanelli’s stick.”
At the center position, Marshall is excellent in the face-off circle, kills penalties, blocks shots, is ferociously competitive and wants to be the hero to score the game-changing goals in the biggest moments. Whether it is stickhandling through a defender like a playmaker or driving through them like a power forward, he can do it all.
“That’s what makes him so impressive. He does everything at an elite level,” Berman said.
During the 2019-2020 season, Cusanelli and Marshall were split onto different lines to create two effective scoring lines, exposing opposing teams to more difficult matchups. Despite their point totals dropping, with Cusanelli posting 35 points in 32 games and Marshall scoring 33 points in 31 games, the team won a consecutive WCHL Championship and a third straight Cactus Cup against the team’s arch-rival Arizona State.
“Everybody has to have a team-first attitude and it’s about recruiting players who buy into that culture,” Berman said.
This attitude to recruiting came to fruition as six players, including Cusanelli and Marshall, scored 20-plus points during another championship season.
No player hoists a trophy by themselves, but Berman credits Cusanelli and Marshall as two key pieces that have led to the UA hockey program’s resurgence on and off the ice. Both are entering their senior seasons this year, which already has Berman procrastinating the day where they take the ice as a Wildcat one final time.
“It’s not a day you look forward to,” Berman said. “They are guys that you wish could play here forever.”
No matter the outcome of the 2020-2021 season Anthony Cusanelli and Bayley Marshall have cemented their legacies in the annals of UA hockey history.
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