By Kim Wrona
3/21/17 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies took on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars on February 10 at Webster Groves Ice Arena in Webster Groves, MO in the first round of the MACHA Gold playoffs.
NIU had finished fourth in the Gold Division with a division record of 7-7-0-1 while SIUe finished fifth in the Gold Division with a division record of 6-9-0-1.
The Cougars drew first blood of the contest as they scored at the 13:45 mark of the opening frame. The Huskies answered back less than three minutes later with a power play goal from senior forward Tyler Hilton for his 15th goal of the 2016-17 season.
The Huskies took their first lead of the game at the 4:23 mark of the second period as junior forward Eric Svejda scored his 12th goal of the year. The Huskies then added to their lead to make it 3-1 as junior forward Billy Petersen tallied his first marker of the year at the 7:51 mark of the middle frame.
The Cougars stormed back to tie the game at three in the waning minutes of the second period with two goals that came less than a minute apart.
SIUe took charge in the third period as the Cougars took a 4-3 lead over NIU at the 1:59 mark of the final frame and then added a shorthanded goal at 16:48 to make it 5-3. The Cougars added a final tally at 17:39 to take a 6-3 lead over the Huskies and knock NIU out of the MACHA Gold playoffs.
Senior goaltender JoJo Durrbeck made 50 saves on 56 shots in the contest. SIUe outshot NIU by a 56-31 margin. The Huskies went 1-4 on the power play and killed off all five of the Cougars’ man advantages.
The DII Huskies’ final record of the 2016-17 season was 10-25-0-1-0. Hilton led the Huskies in scoring with 33 points (15 G, 18 A) in 36 games played. Svejda was second in scoring with 30 points (12 G, 18 A) in 35 games and junior forward Mike Wojtkiewicz was third in scoring with 27 points (12 G, 15 A) in 33 games.