By Morgan Haga
9/29/19 Dekalb, IL The D1 Huskies skated on home ice for the first time for the 2019-2020 season. NIU played Western Michigan University at Canlan Ice Sports West Dundee, September 27th and 28th. The Huskies fell to Western Michigan Friday 3-2 and Saturday 3-0.
The Huskies took a couple hits starting Friday’s game off with penalties. Three minutes into the first period Freshman Forward Nick Gonzalez hit the back of the net making the score 1-0 Huskies. Gonzalez said, “It felt good to score my first goal of the season in the first game. It also is a big confidence booster going into next weekend’s games.” Less than two minutes later Freshman Forward Rodahn Evans scored making it 2-0 Huskies.
Continuing into the second period the Huskies struggled to maintain the lead. Penalties were hard to take. Coach Rucinski mentioned that the powerplay needs to be worked on. Scoring goals on powerplays would help increase energy and that is what the team needs. Western Michigan scored three goals between the second and third period. The Huskies ended up losing 3-2.
Saturday the Huskies came up short with a 3-0 loss. Western Michigan had the Huskies skating back and forth pulling ahead as NIU was still struggling with powerplays. After fighting hard, Freshman Forward Hunter Pierce, stated that they need to work together as a team to prepare for next weekend. “Power plays were a struggle but we have a long season ahead of us and a bunch of new guys and need to work together in general.”
Sophomore goaltender Chad Dodero was in net both games. Friday Dodero saved 61 of 64 shots and Saturday saved 38 of 41 shots.
The Huskies will be back on home ice October 5th and 6th as they take on Midland University for the Huskies first MCH conference games of the season. The games will begin at 7:50pm and 4:50pm respectively at Canlan Ice Sports West Dundee.