By Kim Wrona
10/1/14 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies traveled up to Michigan to take on Central Michigan University for 2 games this past weekend. Friday’s game saw the Huskies fall 4-3 in a shootout, but on Saturday they picked up their first victory of the season by a score of 6-3.
The Huskies had a 2 goal lead going into the first period on Friday with both tallies coming from senior forward Justin Rucinski.
Despite getting another tally from senior forward Joe Serpico in the third period, Central Michigan was able to tie the game up at 3. The game went into a shootout where the home squad came out on top.
“Friday was a tough loss for us,” head coach Chuck Rinaldo said. “We played well for all but about 8 minutes and that's all it took for us to give up a lead. It was frustrating for us but also another opportunity to learn what it takes to secure the victory. We also still need to keep working on scoring goals. It's surprising that we went 6 rounds in the shootout without scoring a goal. Part of that is a simple mentality or state of mind. Hopefully with a few more goals scored we will gain our confidence back.”
Saturday’s contest featured an offensive explosion for the Huskies during the third period as they won their first game on the young season.
The Huskies got markers from Rucinski and junior forward Anthony Ricciardi in the first period before senior forward Mark Greenberg, junior forward Max Finley and freshman forward Eric Svejda (twice) tallied in the final frame.
“It felt good to get that first win under our belt, especially after we let one slip through our fingers the previous night,” Rinaldo said. “The boys bounced back well and we had a total team effort getting production from all of our lines.”
The Huskies continue their early season road trip this upcoming weekend as they make the trek down to Champaign to take on the University of Illinois.
“There are always some challenges that come along with playing at the University of Illinois,” Rinaldo said. “They have a huge ice surface that will cause us to make some adjustments to how we use our space and how we get to loose pucks. Illinois is also a hard working team that will thrive on momentum. So it's crucial that we take control early and don't let them gain any confidence.”
The Huskies have one more weekend on the road after their trip to visit the Illini. The time away from home during the early part of the season has been good for the team.
“I think the lengthy road trip so early in the season is very beneficial,” Rinaldo said. “It gives us a chance to spend time together as a team and stay focused solely on hockey without any other distractions. I think we already had a pretty tight group but it's always nice to add that extra bonding time to our team so early in the season.”
The Huskies’ first game in Champaign starts at 10 p.m. on Friday and their second game begins at 4:20 p.m. on Saturday. Both contests will be held at the University of Illinois Ice Arena.