By Kim Wrona
11/5/14 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies’ win streak came to an end this past weekend as the team took on Northern Michigan University.
Friday’s match-up saw the Huskies extend their win streak to 10, but NIU was not able to come out on top on Saturday as Northern Michigan won in overtime.
The Huskies fell into a 1-0 hole 6:43 into the first period on Friday, but freshman forward Matthew Gould tied the game up for NIU less than 2 minutes later.
The Wildcats took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but senior forward Nick Leon was able to tally at the 10:39 mark to tie the game at 2.
The goals continued to be swapped in the sandwich stanza as the home team took the lead yet again just over 3 minutes later. Leon then scored twice in 3:51 to put the Huskies up 4-3 before the period ended and NIU was able to hang on during the third period for the victory.
“Friday’s win was big,” coach Nick Madonia said. “It was kind of a weird game. The refs let them play for the first period and things started to get out of hand and then they tried to get a rope on it. They started calling penalties so there was a lot of special teams play in the second and third periods. But we kept our heads for the most part and kept the streak alive, kept it at 10.”
“[It] was really good to see our team keep composure and come out with a win like we did,” Leon said. “After stuff gets out of control in a game like that, it’s hard to stay focused and we did a good job of just keeping the goal of the game in mind and coming out with the win.”
“Friday we played a pretty solid overall team game,” junior forward Max Finley said. “We had some of the younger guys step up and Gould put a goal in and it kind of gave the team a little boost and we played even though we had a bunch of guys missing.”
“I thought it was good, considering it was a long road trip up there,” junior defenseman Troy Heurlin said. “We got out there and it was a hard fought game. We ended up skating out with a win.”
Saturday’s game featured the Huskies scoring first with Finley getting on the board at the 57 second mark of the opening frame.
Much like Friday night, goals were swapped early and often. NMU tied the game up before the period ended, but senior forward Mark Greenberg gave the Huskies their lead back in the second period. NMU tied the game up at 2 at the 5:58 mark and then Leon tallied to give NIU the lead just under 5 minutes later.
NMU knotted the game up at 3 at 14:46 of the second and then took its first lead of the game at 4:03 of the third period. With 23 seconds left, the Huskies tied the game up at 4 with Greenberg’s second tally of the night to send the game into overtime.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, NMU scored at 3:24 of overtime to take the contest 5-4.
“It was kind of a mixed emotions game,” Madonia said. “We went down, battled back, and then we took a couple leads and gave up quick goals. But then we found a way to tie it up and we just didn’t get a bounce in overtime.”
“It was sad that [the win streak] came to an end, but I thought it was good to see that we battled back to tie the game and bring it into overtime,” Heurlin said. “But the bounces didn’t go our way and we ended up losing.”
“All win streaks come to an end, but I’m proud of the boys,” Finley said. “We got an extra point out of the game. We battled back in the last minute and tied it up. We got that third point for the weekend, so even though the win streak ended, it was still overall a good game.”
“It’s unfortunate to see the streak end but obviously you can’t really complain with a 10-0-1 run,” Leon said. “It’s just important to keep it going with Mizzou and then Illinois State.”
The Huskies are on the road again on Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8. The team will travel down to Jefferson City, MO to take on the University of Missouri in 2 MACHA conference games.
“Missouri is going to be a big weekend,” Madonia said. “It’s our first league games in a couple weeks, so these are the games that really, really count because every point in this league counts because it’s such a competitive league.”
The Huskies feel confident going into this weekend’s set of games.
“We just got to keep playing the way we’ve been playing,” Finley said. “We kind of lost our heads a little bit in Saturday’s game. If we just stay disciplined Friday and Saturday in Missouri, we’ll be fine.”
“Nothing really needs to be changed,” Leon said. “We obviously had some penalty issues still that we need to fix. But, if we keep playing the way we’ve been playing, Mizzou shouldn’t be too hard of a team to beat.”
“I think we don’t really need to change much,” Heurlin said. “We just got to keep doing what we’re doing, playing our game, and the wins will keep coming.”
Friday’s game is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday’s contest is set for 4:30 p.m. Both tilts will be held at Washington Park Ice Arena.