By Kim Wrona
1/22/16 – DeKalb, IL | The DII Huskies traveled to Minnesota on January 16 and 17 to take on Saint Mary’s University for two games.
Saturday’s late night contest featured a quick start from the Huskies as freshman forward David Madrigal scored 59 seconds into the game to put the Huskies up 1-0. Saint Mary’s then tied the game at the 8:03 mark of the opening period.
NIU tallied four consecutive goals throughout the rest of the first period and the second period. Sophomore forward Eric Svejda gave the Huskies the lead back almost six minutes after Saint Mary’s tied the game. Madrigal tacked on a power play goal less than one minute later to make the score 3-1 in NIU’s favor.
Senior defenseman Troy Heurlin scored 1:57 into the second period to extend the Huskies’ lead to three goals. Senior forward and team captain Justin Rucinski added a shorthanded goal near the end of the middle frame to put the Huskies up 5-1.
Saint Mary’s cut its deficit to three goals by scoring first in the third period to make the score 5-2. Three minutes later though, Svejda added his second marker of the night to restore the NIU lead. The tally was a shorthanded goal.
Madrigal completed his hat trick bid at the 12:48 mark of the final frame to add to the NIU lead. Rucinski scored with less than two minutes remaining in regulation to make the final score 8-2.
Junior goaltender JoJo Durrbeck made 16 saves on 18 shots in the contest. The Huskies outshot Saint Mary’s by a 21-18 margin. The Huskies went 2-8 on the power play and Saint Mary’s went 0-7 on the man advantage.
Sunday morning’s contest also featured the Huskies scoring the first goal of the game. Heurlin tallied a power play goal at the 4:25 mark of the opening period to jumpstart the NIU offense.
Senior forward Nick Leon scored his first goal of the weekend nearly three minute later during a power play. Rucinski extended the NIU lead to a field goal just over two minutes later.
The home team got on the board in the second period as the NIU lead was cut to two goals. Rucinski answered back less than a minute afterwards to make the score 4-1 in NIU’s favor.
Senior defenseman Ron Coletta scored in the third period to increase the NIU lead. Later in the period, Saint Mary’s scored a shorthanded goal to cut the team’s deficit to three goals. But NIU answered back with two tallies to close out the game.
Madrigal scored a power play goal with just about three minutes left in the game. Heurlin added another power play goal with less than two minutes to go to give the Huskies a 7-2 victory over Saint Mary’s and the weekend sweep.
Sophomore goaltender Nick Bove made 24 saves on 26 shots in the contest. The Huskies outshot Saint Mary’s by a margin of 29-26. NIU went 4-7 on the power play and Saint Mary’s went 0-6 on the man advantage.
“With all the penalties that there were, we tried to stay focused and keep our composure,” sophomore forward Billy Petersen said about the weekend.
The Huskies’ next opponent is the University of Iowa. NIU will host the Hawkeyes at 7:30 p.m. on January 22 and at 3 p.m. on January 23 at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee.
“For the Iowa games, we need to stay disciplined and capitalize on our opportunities,” Petersen said.