By Kim Wrona
10/27/16 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies faced-off against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes on October 21 and 22 in Iowa, but came up short in both contests.
The Huskies found themselves down a goal just 1:45 into Friday’s game as the Hawkeyes netted a power play tally. Later in the frame, senior forward Tyler Hilton tied the game up at one with his third goal of the season.
Iowa regained the lead with another power play goal just under two minutes later. With 19 seconds remaining in the opening period, the home team took a 3-1 lead.
The Huskies closed their deficit to one goal in the second period as junior forward Mike Wojtkiewicz got on the board with his fourth goal on the 2016-17 campaign.
The Huskies pulled senior goaltender JoJo Durrbeck late in the third period for the sixth attacker to try and tie the game up, but Iowa sealed the deal with an empty net goal with 34 seconds remaining in regulation to give
the Hawkeyes a 4-2 win.
Durrbeck made 26 saves on 29 shots in the contest. The Huskies outshot the Hawkeyes by a 35-30 margin. The Huskies failed to convert on their two power plays while the Hawkeyes scored on two of their three man advantages.
The Huskies scored first during Saturday’s game. After a scoreless first period, Wojtkiewicz netted a power play marker 1:03 into the middle frame to put NIU up 1-0 with his fifth goal of the season.
Less than five minutes later though, Iowa tied the game. The Hawkeyes then took a 2-1 lead before the sandwich stanza was over.
The Huskies tied the game up in the third period as senior forward Cody Billeck tallied his first goal of the season. But the Hawkeyes answered NIU’s tying goal with three of their own and completed their sweep of the Huskies with a 5-2 victory on Saturday.
Junior goaltender Nick Bove made 33 saves on 37 shots on Saturday. The Hawkeyes outshot the Huskies by a margin of 38-33. The Huskies went 1-4 on the power play while the Hawkeyes went 2-4 on the man advantage.
“We need to stay disciplined,” Billeck said. “Penalties killed us this past weekend. We also need to play a full 60 minutes of hockey; we came out really flat to start Friday’s game. Being short guys [due to injuries] tires everyone out, but that’s not an excuse. We need to be better.”
The DII Huskies are now 3-7-0-0-0 on the 2016-17 season. They will make their return to home ice for their next set of games after completing a long road trip.
NIU will host Davenport University at 7:30 p.m. on October 28 and at 5:30 p.m. on October 29 at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee.
NIU and the Susan G. Komen Foundation have teamed up to host the fourth annual Pink in the Rink weekend during the games this weekend. Before Saturday’s contest, NIU Hockey will be retiring former captain Eric Madden’s no. 10 jersey in a pre-game ceremony.