By Kim Wrona
11/2/13—DeKalb, IL This past weekend on October 25th and 26th, the D2 Huskies traveled down to Kankakee to take on Eastern Illinois University at Ice Valley. The Huskies started the weekend on a good note as they won the contest 8-1, despite having key guys such as junior forward and leading scorer Justin Rucinski and senior defenseman Danny Stetzinger out of the line-up due to injuries. Senior netminder Nick Bonin was in net for NIU.
The offense was spread throughout the line-up on Friday as 15 different skaters picked up at least one point. There was never a repeat goal scorer in this contest as well. Senior forwards Joe Boris and Mark Greenberg, junior forwards Brian Pounds and Brandon Niedziela, freshman forward Tyler Sukel, graduate defenseman Brian Pickett, sophomore defenseman Troy Heurlin and freshman defenseman Jake Jauch all lit the lamp for the Huskies; Niedziela, Pickett and Jauch all picked up their first markers of the season.
“It’s exactly what we needed,” head coach Chuck Rinaldo said. “We’ve been depending on a couple guys to do a lot of the offensive work, and to be productive against a lot of teams, we need to continue it. It’s good to get it once, but we’re hoping to get it for multiple games.”
Pounds’ goal was his 2nd of the season and in as many games. For him, it’s been good to get on the board.
“Personally, I kind of enjoy working and earning [the goals] instead of relying on talent,” he said. “It provides a better leadership role for the team. It’s been humbling and it’s good to get the effort back into it instead of cruising along on the basis of talent."
The Huskies weren’t able to follow through with their winning ways on Saturday. They fell to EIU 6-5, despite senior forward Nick Leon recording a hat trick and getting out to an early lead. Greenberg and senior forward Nick Remley recorded the other two tallies and senior goaltender Jonny Perillo was in between the pipes for NIU.
“Saturday turned into a trap game for us,” Rinaldo said. “Guys were a little too over confident. They didn’t want to put in the extra effort; they thought it would be an easy game but it wasn’t.”
“I think it was a little bit of letting off the gas,” Pounds said. “We took a 3-1 lead in the game; we kind of got comfortable and then sat back and thought we could walk the game out. We dug ourselves too big of a hole to come out of.”
In addition to being without Rucinski and Stetzinger, the Huskies were forced to play without a few more guys.
“Guys are banged up. We have a lot of injuries,” Rinaldo said. “We lost [junior forward Anthony] Contillo, we lost Boris [for family reasons] … It adds up really quick.”
The good news for the Huskies is that they have a weekend off to rest up before they take on California State University Fullerton at home at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 7th.