By Kim Wrona
12/13/16 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies hosted the Robert Morris University Maroon Eagles on December 9 and 10 at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee, but dropped both games to conclude the 2016 portion of their 2016-17 season.
The first period between the Huskies and the Eagles was a scoreless affair on Friday, but the visiting team got on the board first with a goal at the 7:55 mark of the second period. The Eagles extended their lead with 2:02 left in the sandwich stanza as an RMU player got behind the NIU defense and tipped in the puck.
In the third period, the Eagles scored twice in 12 seconds to take a 4-0 lead. The fourth goal ended junior goaltender Nick Bove’s night and senior goaltender JoJo Durrbeck manned the crease for the remaining 17:23 of the game. Bove made 35 saves on 39 shots during his 42:37 in net.
The Eagles took a 5-0 lead with 1:40 left in the game and held on to take the victory. Durrbeck made six saves on seven shots on goal during his time in net. RMU outshot NIU by a 46-22 margin. The Huskies didn’t score on their lone power play and killed off both of the Eagles’ man advantages.
“Friday we didn’t show up to play our game,” senior forward Cody Billeck said. “We didn’t do the little things to take care of our zone.”
The Huskies got out to a good start on Saturday as they netted the first goal of the game. At the 7:46 mark, Billeck won a face-off and got the puck back to junior forward Eric Svejda and Svejda put the puck home for his fifth goal of the season.
The Huskies extended their lead to 2-0 as Billeck scored his fifth goal of the season with a shot from the high slot that went blocker side on the Eagles’ netminder.
The Eagles answered back with three goals in the last three minutes of the first period to take a 3-2 lead going into the first intermission.
The Huskies tied the game up at three at the 1:20 mark of the middle frame as Billeck netted his second of the game as he scored on a breakaway; the marker was his sixth on the 2016-17 campaign.
The Eagles regained the lead at the 7:33 mark of the period with their own breakaway goal to make it 4-3 RMU.
The Huskies fought back and tied the game up at four as sophomore forward Holden Carkner crashed the net and put the puck home for his second goal of the season.
The Eagles scored twice in the third period to extend their lead to 6-4 and that was how the final score stood as RMU swept the Huskies.
Durrbeck made 39 saves on 45 shots on goal in 53:46 of ice time; Bove relieved Durrbeck after the sixth goal and stopped both shots that were fired on him in just over six minutes. RMU outshot NIU by a 47-29 margin.
The Huskies didn’t score on their lone power play while the Eagles went 1-5 on their man advantages.
“Saturday we came out and played a better game,” Billeck said. “We put pucks in the net but had a four minute mental breakdown that cost us three goals and probably the game.”
The DII Huskies’ 2016-17 record now stands at 8-16-0-0-0. The next time NIU takes the ice will be during the New Year.
The Huskies will take on DePaul University at 7:30 p.m. on January 6, 2017 and at 5:30 p.m. on January 7, 2017 at Leafs Centre to begin the 2017 portion of the season.