By Kim Wrona
11/21/18 — DeKalb, IL | The DIII Huskies played in a home-and-home series against the Aurora University Spartans on November 16 and 17, but dropped both contests on the weekend leading into the Thanksgiving break.
Senior forward Thomas Knetl (2 G) and freshman defenseman Brandon Howe (2 A) led the Huskies in scoring during the two games.
Friday’s game was held at the Spartans’ rink, Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, IL. The home team got out to a 3-0 lead by 6:08 of the second period. Knetl cut the NIU deficit to two goals at 6:32 with his third goal of the season; his tally was assisted by freshman defenseman Ben Carney.
The Spartans tallied twice before the end of the middle frame and at the one-minute mark of the third period to take a 6-1 lead over NIU. Freshman forward Elijah David recorded his fifth goal of the season at 3:18 of the third to cut the NIU deficit to four goals; Howe picked up the lone assist on the marker.
The Spartans added one more tally during the last stretch of regulation to pick up a 7-2 victory over the Huskies. Sophomore goaltender Ethan Koncor made 13 saves on 15 shots during 20 minutes of play while junior goaltender Josh Stoos made 28 saves on 33 shots in 40 minutes of play. Aurora outshot NIU by a 48-25 margin. The Huskies went 0-4 on the power play, but never gave the Spartans a chance on the power play during the game.
Saturday’s contest was on the Huskies’ home ice at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee, IL. Unfortunately for NIU, the game didn’t get off to a good start as the Spartans scored twice in the first period and four times during the second period before the 17-minute mark to take a 6-0 lead over the Huskies.
Knetl got the Huskies on the board at 17:32 of the middle frame with his fourth goal of the season to make it 6-1; Howe picked up the lone helper on the play.
With 12 seconds remaining the in the second, the Spartans took a 7-1 lead, but with one second remaining, freshman forward Jarod Cheslock picked up his seventh goal of the year to once again cut the NIU deficit to five goals; sophomore forward Nick Campbell picked up the lone assist on the goal.
The Spartans scored three times in the third period, including a power play marker, to seal their 10-2 victory over the Huskies for the sweep of the weekend. Koncor made 26 saves on 30 shots in 22:07 of ice time while junior goaltender Mike Trybula made 33 saves on 39 shots in 37:53 of ice time. AU outshot NIU by a 69-36 margin. The Huskies went 0-1 on the power play while the Spartans went 1-3 on the man advantage. NIU now has a 2-15-0-0 record on the 2018-2019 campaign.
The DIII Huskies will once again be at home the next time they take the ice. At 7:20 p.m. on November 30 and at 4:20 p.m. on December 1, NIU will host the Milwaukee School of Engineering at Leafs Ice Centre.