By Kim Wrona
10/2/17 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies traveled to Iowa to take on the Iowa State University Cyclones on September 29 and 30. Unfortunately for the Huskies, they would return to DeKalb winless as the Cyclones swept the weekend.
The Huskies got on the scoreboard first during the first period of Friday’s contest. Senior forward Eric Svejda scored his third goal of the season with a shot from the left circle to put NIU up 1-0 at the 10:36 mark of opening frame.
With 5:38 left in the period, the Cyclones tied the game up at one with a backhanded shot. The home squad then took a 2-1 lead less than two minutes later.
The Cyclones gave themselves a two goal cushion at the 8:10 mark of the second period. They then added a power play goal at the 11:13 mark of the middle frame to go up 4-1 over the Huskies, which ended up being the final score of the contest.
Senior goaltender JoJo Durrbeck made 58 saves on 62 shots on Friday night. Iowa State outshot NIU by a 62-41 margin. The Cyclones went 1-2 on the power play while the Huskies failed to convert on their three power play opportunities.
The Cyclones scored four consecutive goals to open up the scoring on Saturday night. The home team took a 1-0 lead into the first period and then scored three more times in the second period to take a 4-0 lead over NIU.
The Huskies broke the Cyclones’ chance at a shutout as sophomore defenseman David Muth scored a power play goal with a shot from the left circle with 4:31 left in the second period. The tally was Muth’s second on the 2017-18 campaign.
The Cyclones restored their lead 30 seconds into the third period to make it 5-1 in the home team’s favor.
Junior forward Tommy Rhyan brought the Huskies back to within three goals at the 3:17 mark of the third period. Rhyan capitalized on a turnover in the Cyclones’ defensive zone and sent a backhanded shot into the back of the net for a shorthanded goal and his first goal of the season.
The Cyclones netted two quick goals at 7:15 and 9:15 of the frame to take a 7-2 lead over NIU, but the Huskies continued to fight back.
Junior forward Nick Treiber scored his fourth goal of the season with nine minutes to go in regulation to cut the Huskies’ deficit to four goals, but that’s as close as NIU would get. The Cyclones took the 7-3 victory for the sweep of the weekend.
Senior goaltender Nick Bove started the game and made 24 saves on 28 shots in 32:15 of ice time. Junior goaltender Tommy Terrance relieved Bove in the second period and made 12 saves on 15 shots in 27:45 of ice time.
Iowa State outshot NIU by a 43-29 margin. The Cyclones went 1-3 on the power play while the Huskies went 1-4 on the man advantage. The DII Huskies now have a 2-4-0-0 record on the 2017-18 season.
The defensive zone was one of the weaker points for the Huskies over the course of the weekend.
“I think our centers have to focus on not over-playing the flow of the puck up the wall,” Treiber said about the defensive zone struggles. “[We need to] follow the defense in making that breakout pass to the winger and give him an option [at] center ice for a nice clean breakout. We’re having a problem with over-shooting and we’re turning pucks over down low and they’re getting odd man rushes to the net. That definitely needs to get cleaned up for sure.”
A positive to take out of the weekend for the Huskies is that they kept battling until the end of each game.
“The boys don’t quit,” Treiber said. “That’s definitely one thing we can take away from the weekend. Two minutes left in the third period and down by 4-5 goals and we were still battling. We were trying to get one and get the
momentum in our favor even though we were trailing pretty hard. [Even when] it doesn’t look like we’re going to get back in it, we’re still going. It’s definitely a positive.”
The Huskies will finish out their three-weekend road trip with a set of games against the University of Illinois’ DI team.
“[We need to] get to pucks quick and win battles,” Treiber said about the keys to the Huskies’ games against the Illini. “That’s the biggest part of the game: not losing the foot races, getting there first and setting up your pressure on the other team.”
The Huskies and the Illini will face-off at 7:00 p.m. on October 6 and on October 7 at the University of Illinois Ice Arena in Champaign, IL.