by Kim Wrona
9/26/18 — DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies split their weekend series against the DI Illinois State University Redbirds on September 21 and 22 at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee. Senior forward Nick Treiber led the Huskies over the weekend as he picked up five points (2 G, 3 A). Senior forward Eric Svejda recorded four points (4 A) in two games while senior forward Mike Wojtkiewicz tallied three points (1 G, 2 A).
Friday’s game didn’t start the way the Huskies would have liked their home opener to start as the Redbirds took a 1-0 lead with 22 seconds remaining in the first period. The visitors then added two more tallies before the six minute mark of the second period to take a 3-0 lead over NIU.
Wojtkiewicz got the Huskies on the board with his third goal on the 2018-2019 campaign at 6:43 of the middle frame, but ISU responded with three more goals to close out the period to take a 6-1 lead.
The Redbirds scored twice in 15 seconds, including a power play marker, early in the third period to take an 8-1 lead. Sophomore defenseman Robert Apter netted a power play goal for the Huskies at 11:45 of the period for his first goal of the season and to cut the Huskies’ deficit to six goals, but the Redbirds would take the 8-2
victory over NIU.
Graduate goaltender Stephen Thulin started the game and made 35 saves on 41 shots in 40 minutes of play. Freshman goaltender Chad Dodero played in the final frame and made 11 saves on 13 shots. ISU outshot NIU by a 54-36 margin. The Huskies went 1-5 on the power play while the Redbirds went 1-2 on their man advantages.
The Huskies came out strong for Saturday’s contest as they looked for redemption on home ice. Freshman forward Tyler Gut put the Huskies out front with 2:57 left in the opening frame as he whacked at a loose puck near the crease for his second goal of the season. Unfortunately for NIU, the Redbirds tallied 56 seconds later to tie the game.
Gut gave the Huskies the lead back at 8:14 of the second period. Svejda brought the puck into the Redbirds’ zone on a two-on-one rush with Gut. Svejda dished the puck to Gut and he went bar down for his second marker of the game.
The Redbirds tied the game at 12:40 of the middle frame and then took a 3-2 lead at 1:48 of the third period with a power play goal.
Treiber tied the game at three for the Huskies with a power play tally from the left circle at 6:46 for his second goal of the season. Less than four minutes later, Treiber struck again with his second of the game and third of the season to give NIU a 4-3 lead. Treiber’s second tally of the night was another power play goal, but this time he deflected in a Svejda shot.
Senior defenseman David Madrigal gave NIU a two-goal cushion with his first goal of the season just after a power play expired at 16:08 of the final frame, which allowed the Huskies to hang on for the 5-3 victory. This DII Huskies’ victory was the first time in the program’s history where NIU has defeated a DI team.
Thulin made 52 saves on 55 shots in the contest. ISU outshot NIU by a 55-41 margin. The Huskies went 3-8 on the power play while the Redbirds went 1-3 on the man advantage.
The DII Huskies will now have two weekends off before they take the ice again. At 8:50 p.m. on October 12, the Huskies and the Robert Morris University-Maroon Eagles will face-off at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville.