By Kim Wrona
11/10/16 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies traveled down to Missouri on November 4 and 5 to take on the University of Missouri in two MACHA Conference games. In the two contests, NIU picked up its first victories since October 1 as the Huskies swept the weekend.
The Huskies got out to a quick start during Friday’s game as junior forward Eric Svejda netted his second goal of the season just 50 seconds into the game.
Mizzou tied the game and took a 2-1 lead before the first period was over, but freshman forward Nick Gulli tied the game at two early in the second period.
The Huskies took a 3-2 lead at the 12:16 mark of the sandwich stanza as senior defenseman LJ Scimeca scored his first goal of the season.
The Tigers tied the game up at 1:08 of the third period, but the Huskies answered back. Gulli netted his second goal of the game and sixth goal of the season to give NIU a 4-3 lead at 15:32 of the final frame.
Junior forward Patrick Wrobel gave the Huskies a two goal lead less than a minute later. Mizzou added a goal before the game ended, but NIU was able to hang on for the 5-4 victory.
Senior goaltender JoJo Durrbeck made 28 saves on 32 shots. The Huskies outshot the Tigers by a 44-32 margin. The Huskies went 0-5 on the power play and killed off all nine Mizzou man advantages.
Offense was the common theme of Saturday’s game for both teams. Fortunately for the Huskies, they got on the board more often than Mizzou did.
The Huskies started the game by getting out to a two goal lead early in the contest. Junior defenseman Tommy Turner tallied the first goal of the game at 6:55 and then junior forward Mike Wojtkiewicz added to the lead less than two minutes later. Wojtkiewicz’s marker was his eighth goal of the year.
Mizzou scored while on a power play at the 9:20 mark of the opening frame, but sophomore defenseman Alex Kalinsky netted his own power play goal for his first goal of the year to make it 3-1 NIU.
Gulli scored early in the second period to extend the NIU lead. Senior forward Tyler Hilton scored at 5:57 of the middle frame to make it 5-1 NIU. Mizzou scored twice within a three minute span, but Hilton then tallied two more times before the period was over to complete his hat trick to make it 7-3 NIU.
Gulli added his second marker of the contest at 3:02 of the third period with his eighth goal of the season. Mizzou scored twice more at 7:57 and at 9:04 of the final frame to cut NIU’s lead to three.
Turner tallied his second goal of the game and his second goal of the season at 14:51 to restore NIU’s four goal lead. Mizzou added on a power play marker towards the end of regulation, but the Huskies took the 9-6 victory for the sweep of the weekend.
Junior goaltender Nick Bove made 38 saves on 44 shots in the contest. The Tigers outshot the Huskies by a 44-40 margin. The Huskies went 2-7 on the power play while Mizzou went 3-11 on the man advantage.
The DII Huskies will try to use their momentum from their sweep to pick up some victories in the Robert Morris University Showcase this weekend.
“The Showcase games are always big games, even though they don’t count towards league play,” Durrbeck said. “Coming off of two big wins is huge for us and we need to use the momentum from that going into this weekend. We did a lot of good things against Mizzou, but there are also some things that we can work on this weekend. It’ll be a good test for us as we’re playing three games in three days.”
The Huskies will take on Waldorf University at 2 p.m. on November 11 at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville. At 3 p.m. on November 12, NIU will face-off against RMU Maroon at the Edge. To finish off the weekend, the Huskies will take on Northern Michigan University at 12 p.m. on November 13 at The Edge on John St. in Bensenville.