By Kim Wrona
11/16/17 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies played in the Robert Morris University Showcase from November 10-12 at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, IL. NIU played in three games in three days over the weekend and recorded a 1-1-1-0 record in the tournament.
On Friday night, the Huskies took on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans to open the Showcase. NIU got on the board first with senior forward Jordan Niedziela’s seventh goal of the season. The Huskies added another marker early in the second period with junior forward Keagan Cornier’s fourth goal of the year.
The Titans cut the NIU lead in half with a power play goal near the halfway mark of the middle frame, but freshman forward Michael Pelagio restored the two-goal NIU lead four minutes later with his second goal of the season.
The Titans tied the game up at three with two goals within the first minute of the third period. Sophomore forward Brad Krauser put the Huskies back on top at 4:34 of the final frame with his seventh goal of the season.
The Titans fought back and tied the game at four just before the midway point of the period, but Niedziela netted his second of the game and eighth of the year at 10:32 to put the Huskies up 5-4.
The back-and-forth scoring continued as the Titans once again tied the game 10 seconds later. The Huskies took the lead for good at 17:01 with Krauser’s second of the game and eighth of the season. With 39 seconds remaining in regulation, Pelagio sealed the deal with an empty net goal for his second of the game and third of the season to give the Huskies a 7-5 victory over the Titans.
Junior goaltender Tommy Terrance made 20 saves on 25 shots in the contest and was credited with the secondary assist on Niedziela’s first goal of the game. NIU outshot UW-Oshkosh by a 46-25 margin. The Titans went 1-for-5 on the power play while the Huskies failed to convert on their five man advantages.
“I thought that the team came out strong on Friday,” Terrance said. “We put a lot of pressure on them and made their goalie keep them in the game. Winning the game really got us off to a good start for the Showcase and helped us to gain some momentum for the rest of the weekend.”
The Huskies took on the Aurora University Spartans during Saturday’s match-up. The AU power play got to work in the first period and converted at the 8:10 mark off of a rebound to take a 1-0 lead over the Huskies.
But the Huskies answered back with a power play marker of their own. Just over two minutes later, junior forward Nick Treiber scored his eighth goal of the season to tie the game up at one. The tie game didn’t last long though as the Spartans regained their one-goal lead at 12:49 on a delayed penalty.
AU tallied twice in the second period, including a power play goal, to take a 4-1 lead over the Huskies, and that’s how the final stood after 60 minutes of play.
Senior goaltender JoJo Durrbeck made 41 saves on 45 shots in the contest. AU outshot NIU by a 45-22 margin. The Spartans went 2-for-6 on the power play while the Huskies went 1-for-4 on the man advantage.
“I think we played pretty solid against AU,” Durrbeck said. “Give them credit, they’re a good team, but a lot of what hurt us was self-inflicted. We took penalties that led to a few of their goals and they had a lot of extended time in our defensive zone. Once it was even strength, we created a lot of offensive chances and we can take some positives from the game.”
The Huskies concluded the tournament with a contest against RMU-Maroon on Sunday. NIU opened up the scoring at 6:31 of the first period with a power play goal from senior forward Eric Svejda for his 12th tally of the year. Svejda then sent a backhanded shot into the back of the net at 14:43 for his second of the game and 13th of the season to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles cut the NIU lead in half 51 seconds into the middle frame, but senior forward Matthew Gould put the Huskies back up by two 19 seconds later with a shot that went high glove side for his fifth goal of the year.
Treiber then tallied his ninth goal of the season during a power play at 9:33 as he put home a pass from sophomore defenseman Dave Muth to give the Huskies a 4-1 lead.
The Eagles came storming back in the third period as they tallied three times, including two power play goals, to tie the game up at four. This sent the game into overtime where a pass from the point was put home on a backdoor play with 1:55 remaining in the extra frame to give RMU a 5-4 victory over NIU.
Senior goaltender Nick Bove made 29 saves on 34 shots in the contest. RMU outshot NIU by a 34-23 margin. The Eagles went 2-for-7 on the power play while the Huskies went 1-for-6 on the man advantage.
“It’s definitely hard to play a three game series with the numbers we have right now,” Bove said. “[But] the guys played hard all weekend and we had a lot of positives; we just need to keep battling to the end of games and make sure we play tighter defense.”
The DII Huskies are now 5-13-1-0 on the 2017-18 season. The next time the Huskies take the ice, they’ll be back on the road in Missouri to take on Lindenwood University.
“I think moving into Lindenwood we need to get our systems in check and work on cleaning up our defensive zone,” Bove said.
The Huskies will face-off against Lindenwood at 7:00 p.m. on November 17 and at 1:00 p.m. on November 18 at Wentzville Ice Arena in Wentzville, MO.