By Kim Wrona
2/14/14—DeKalb, IL The D2 Huskies wrapped up the regular season on Friday, February 7 and Saturday, February 8 against DePaul University.
Friday night was senior night for the Huskies at Fox Valley Ice Arena as NIU played its last home game of the season. All four graduating seniors—forwards Rob Bock and Joe Boris, defenseman Troy Hickey and goaltender Jonny Perillo—were in the starting line-up for the Huskies.
DePaul went up 1-0 just over eleven minutes into the first period. The visitors’ lead didn’t last for long as Boris was able to tie the game up just under two minutes later.
DePaul took over the game in the second period as they scored four goals to go up 5-1; junior goaltender Alex Hare replaced Perillo in net around the halfway mark of the period.
NIU brought their deficit down to two in the third period as junior forward Brandon Niedziela and Boris tallied, but the Huskies dropped the contest 5-3.
“Friday’s game was a pretty good start for us, but we shot ourselves in the foot again in the second period with way too many penalties,” head coach Chuck Rinaldo said. “DePaul took advantage of their opportunity and were able to build a comfortable lead.”
Saturday’s contest was held at MB Financial Park in Rosemont as the Huskies took on DePaul in an outdoor game.
The Huskies rebounded from the previous night and took the contest 5-1. Senior forward Nick Leon (x2), junior forward Anthony Ricciardi (x2) and freshman forward/defenseman Jake Jauch tallied for NIU. The victory enabled the Huskies to finish the regular season with a record of 15-17-0-2-1.
“The atmosphere of the outdoor game was awesome,” Rinaldo said. “It was a perfect setting with the snow coming down for the whole game and a great set up of the rink surrounded by the restaurants. The team stuck to the game plan, stayed out of the penalty box and were able to keep the momentum going the right way for us. I was very proud of their effort from start to finish. It was definitely a good way to get some confidence for the upcoming playoffs.”
The Huskies now head into the MACHA playoffs on Friday, February 14 in Webster Groves, Missouri where they will take on Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
“If we put in a solid effort for three full periods against SIUE we will have good chance of getting a victory,” Rinaldo said. “The last time we played them we had a very short bench due to injuries and illness so this will be the first time SIUE has actually seen our full team. We hope to catch them by surprise.”