By Kim Wrona
11/3/17 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies hosted the University of Missouri Tigers on October 27 and 28 for Pink in the Rink weekend at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee, IL. The Huskies came out flying and posted 10 goals on Friday night to pick up their fourth win of the 2017-18 season, but dropped a one-goal game on Saturday evening.
The Huskies scored early and often during the first two periods on Friday. Sophomore forward Brad Krauser opened up the scoring just 1:06 into the game with his fifth goal of the season.
The Huskies extended their lead to 3-0 near the midway point of the frame. Junior forward Keagan Cornier picked up his third tally of the year at the 9:16 mark and senior forward Matthew Gould netted his third goal of the season at the 10:55 mark.
Sophomore defenseman Jake Hamilton picked up his first goal on the 2017-18 campaign with 5:38 left in the period. Senior forward Jordan Niedziela then put the Huskies up by five goals with 12 seconds left in the stanza with his third goal of the year.
Niedziela netted his second goal of the night at the 3:32 mark of the second period.
The two teams traded power play goals in the middle frame. The Tigers cut the Huskies’ lead to 6-1 at the seven minute mark of the frame during a man advantage. But the Huskies restored their six goal lead three minutes later with freshman defenseman Robert Apter’s second marker of the year.
The Tigers continued fighting and cut the NIU lead to five goals once again with a tally at 11:20 of the frame.
The Huskies responded with three goals to close out the second period. Gould picked up his second of the night and fourth of the season just over a minute after Mizzou’s second goal. Krauser then picked up a power play marker for his second of the night and sixth of the year with 4:34 remaining in the frame. Niedziela completed his hat trick for his fifth goal of the year to give the Huskies a 10-2 lead with just under three minutes to play in the frame.
Mizzou scored at the 15:49 mark of the third period, but the Huskies were still able to take a 10-3 victory over their MACHA Conference rivals.
Senior goaltender Nick Bove made 22 saves on 25 shots in the contest. NIU outshot Mizzou by a 43-25 margin. The Tigers went 1-for-3 on the man advantage while the Huskies scored on both of their two power plays on the night.
“Friday, we came out fresh,” Hamilton said. “We were all focused for the game. We came to the rink prepared and went out on the ice and took care of business.”
“Friday we came out really, really good,” head coach Nick Madonia said. “We went up early and kept piling it on until later in the game. [We] slowed down a little bit in the third, which is something we warned them about before the third period. It’s kind of disheartening to see the third period play out the way it did.”
The first period on Saturday featured Mizzou getting off to a good start. The Tigers scored at the 12:20 mark of the first after getting ahold of a rebound and putting it home. Mizzou then added a power play marker to make it 2-0 with 1:29 left in the frame as a shot from the top of the right circle found the back of the net.
The Huskies battled back in the third period. At 8:13 of the final frame, sophomore defenseman David Muth scored his fourth goal of the season with a shot from the low slot to cut the NIU deficit to one goal.
Junior forward Nick Treiber set-up Niedziela with a cross-ice pass at the 12:35 mark of the third to tie the game up at two as Niedziela put the pass home back door for his sixth goal of the season and fourth of the weekend.
Mizzou took the lead back at 15:28 of the third and was able to hang on for the 3-2 victory over the Huskies.
Junior goaltender Tommy Terrance made 41 saves on 44 shots in the contest. Mizzou outshot NIU by a 44-36 margin. The Tigers went 1-for-4 on the power play while the Huskies failed to score on their three man advantages.
“Saturday was definitely a little more relaxed in the locker room,” Hamilton said, “which I think we need to keep [a more] intense focus going [for the whole weekend].”
“Saturday we started out slow and picked it up in the second period,” Madonia said. “Then once we started to get momentum, things started working out, and we ran into a hot goalie. If we had gotten to him a little bit earlier in the game, we could have put ourselves in a better spot.”
The DII Huskies now have a record of 4-10-0-0 on the 2017-18 campaign. The Huskies also raised $3,400 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation during their Pink in the Rink weekend.
The Huskies will now travel to Florida this weekend to take on Florida Gulf Coast University.
“Florida Gulf Coast is a very good program and a good organization,” Madonia said. “They have probably one of the better home ice advantages in the country. They play a lot of home games […] It’s obviously going to be a tough weekend, but we’re preparing for it.”
“The best thing we can do is, honestly, play as a team,” Hamilton said. “No selfish hockey. As we’ve seen before in the past, it doesn’t work. Solid puck movement and speed, that’s our thing; we have to do that.”
NIU and Florida Gulf Coast will face-off at 8:30 p.m. EST on November 3 and November 4 at Germain Arena in Estero, FL.