By Kim Wrona
12/7/16 – DeKalb, IL | The DIII Huskies continued their homestand on December 2 and 3 as they hosted the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee.
The Pioneers got out to a quick start during Friday’s game as the visitors scored 1:54 into the tilt. The Huskies were able to tie the game up at 4:27 of the opening frame as sophomore forward Thomas Knetl tallied his second goal of the season. Freshman forward Matthew Nge had the lone assist on the Knetl marker; it was his fifth apple of the year.
The Pioneers scored twice more before the first period was over to take a 3-1 lead going into the first intermission. The visitors also tallied twice in the first 1:55 of the second period to extend their lead to 5-1.
At 4:45 of the middle frame, junior forward Danny Behles tallied a power play goal for his eighth goal of the season to cut the NIU deficit to three goals. Senior forward Ryan Long and sophomore defenseman Mike Neville picked up the assists on the marker.
The Pioneers scored at 16:21 of the second period to go up by a score of 6-2. In the third period, UW-Platteville netted three goals within the first 14 minutes of the frame.
Behles netted his second goal of the game and ninth goal of the season at 15:28 of the final frame. The marker came on the power play; junior forward Chris Billing and sophomore defenseman Zach Hoffman picked up the assists on the goal.
The Huskies weren’t able to pick up any more goals and dropped the game 9-3 to the Pioneers. Junior goaltender Jake Tower made 62 saves on 71 shots in the contest. UW-Platteville outshot NIU by a 71-17 margin.
The Huskies went 2-4 on the power play and killed off both Pioneer power plays.
The Pioneers got out to an even faster start on Saturday as they scored 1:13 into the first period. About 1:40 later, Knetl scored his third goal on the 2016-17 campaign to tie the game up at one; sophomore forward Ethan Alfaro picked up his second assist of the year on the tally.
The Pioneers scored three goals in the rest of the first period (two on the power play) to take a 4-1 lead going into the first intermission. The visitors then picked up four more goals in the second period (one on the power play) to take an 8-1 lead going into the second intermission.
The Pioneers added a shorthanded goal in the third period to make the score 9-1 and took the victory and sweep of the weekend.
Tower made 48 saves on 57 shots in the contest. UW-Platteville outshot NIU by a 57-14 margin. The Huskies went 0-2 on the power play while the Pioneers scored on all three of their man advantages. The Huskies’ 2016-17 record is now 5-14-0-0.
The DIII Huskies will finish off the 2016 portion of the season with a home-and-home series against Aurora University. The Huskies and the Spartans will face-off at 10:10 p.m. on December 9 at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva. Then at 8:10 p.m. on December 10, the two teams will play each other at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee.