by Kim Wrona
2/6/14—DeKalb, IL The D3 Huskies traveled down to Illinois’ state capital on January 31st and February 1st for two games against Robert Morris University Springfield.
Friday’s contest saw the Huskies go down a goal on the scoreboard in the first period, but they were able to tie it up courtesy of freshman defenseman Erik Demmin’s fourth goal of the season in the second period.
RMU took back the lead and extended it in the third period to 4-1. Junior forward Kyle Cornier cut the lead to two, but the Huskies weren’t able to make a comeback. RMU took the game 5-2.
“Everyone got out to a really slow start and it carried on throughout the whole game,” sophomore goaltender Kyle Maher said. “Everything kept on coming at us and we had no time to react to it. We let up 21 shots in the first period, which is too many. We were just battling back the whole game.”
“I think we looked across the ice during warm-ups and saw they had a short bench and expected that we were going to beat them,” head coach Nick Madonia said. “No one was skating. … Maher played a heck of a game on Friday.”
“We were shooting it into the goalies chest, missing wide and letting their offense beat us to the puck every time,” Maher, who made 38 saves on Friday, said. “We let a team that had nine guys dressed skate all over us. They controlled the puck almost the whole time and they made us slow down the pace of play so we could play at their pace. Although we stayed into it and it was tied 2-2 after the second, they scored really quickly in the third period and after that it was a downhill battle.”
Saturday’s game started off better for the Huskies as junior forward and team captain Jc Weems got the Huskies out to a 1-0 lead in the first period. RMU battled back and was able to grab the lead though. Weems tied the game up before the period ended, but the Huskies couldn’t find a way to take the lead.
RMU jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the second before Cornier scored a power play goal to close the gap to two. The third period was much of the same. RMU extended its lead to 8-3 before Cornier scored his second goal of the night. RMU tacked on a marker after that to make the final score 9-4.
“Everyone was sick,” Madonia said about the weekend. “It was a disappointing weekend because there were four points we could’ve taken but we didn’t show up to take.”
“We played a better game on Saturday, but they had more lucky bounces,” freshman defenseman Damon Lubkeman said. “They fed off of the momentum of a couple quick goals and we were just a little late bouncing back.”
“We played better on Saturday, but the other team also did, too,” Maher said. “We shot the puck better [than on Friday], but it didn’t seem to go into the net; they went mostly right into the chest of the goalie.”
The Huskies close out the regular season on Friday and Saturday with two contests against Lewis University at Canlan Ice Sports in Romeoville. Friday’s contest is slated to begin at 7:30 pm and Saturday’s tilt is scheduled for 5 pm.
“Some of the guys aren’t going to come back [next season] because they’re graduating, choosing not to play, life gets in the way,” Madonia said. “It’s always good to finish the season strong. You tend to remember how the season ended over how the season went. If you win your last two games, you’re going to go out feeling better than if you were to lose your last two games.”
“It’s my last weekend ever playing [college] hockey,” said Maher, who is hanging up the skates after this weekend. “I’m looking forward to hopefully getting a start and getting two wins under our belt. Getting two wins to finish my NIU career would be nice.”
“We’re looking to make a real big comeback against Lewis in order to have a winning record this semester,” Lubkeman said.
“We definitely need a lot of improvement from last weekend to get the two wins,” Maher said.