By Kim Wrona
10/28/14 – DeKalb, IL | The DIII Huskies were in Brookfield, WI this weekend as they took on Marquette University for 2 games. Friday and Saturday did not end in the Huskies’ favor as they lost 9-2 and 11-3 respectively.
Friday’s contest did not go well for the Huskies, despite getting tallies from junior forwards Matt Schaben and Tyler Hilton.
Many members of the team agreed that the second period was their downfall.
“Friday was frustrating,” assistant coach Brian Hyken said. “We knew going into it that we had a big challenge on our hands. We got off to a slow start and had a big hill to climb from there. We rebounded a little bit in the first and just came out flat in the second and just weren’t able to recover.”
“It started off pretty good,” goalie coach Ron Michalek said. “I thought we played them pretty evenly and [sophomore goaltender] JoJo [Durrbeck] played very, very well, stood on his head. … He had some terrific saves. Unfortunately, we kind of fell apart going into the second, got a few too many penalties. We kind of recovered in the third, but just a little too late, unfortunately.”
“We were doing good and then our legs just gave out,” sophomore forward Jeremy Bilecki said. “We fell apart. We had like, 10 minutes of just letting in everything. And that was the deciding factor of the game.”
“We had our ups and downs,” sophomore forward Ryan Saunders said. “We played a solid 20 minutes and then we kind of slugged around in the second. But, we have to learn how to start playing a full 60 minutes and then we’d be a better team altogether.”
Saturday’s game started off much better for the Huskies, but the second period killed any possible momentum they had once again.
“Saturday’s game, we came out flying, even though we were still thinking about the first game and everything. It was probably one of the best periods I’ve seen them play all season,” Michalek said. “Only being down 3-2 [after the first], we were right there with them because Marquette came out flat. And then the second period, we just kind of stopped moving our feet.”
“We were doing really well in the first period because it ended 3-2,” sophomore defenseman Bryan Peterson said. “We were all playing really well. Then they got the fourth goal and we just seemed to shut down again in our zone. Then, the last 10 minutes of the third, we started playing like we did in the first. So, we have to play a whole game.”
“Saturday was a lot of the same,” Hyken said. “We came out in the first period and played the best period we’ve played all year probably. Unfortunately, much of the same just like Friday, came out flat in the second and just weren’t able to recover.”
The Huskies received goals from freshman forward Trevor Bondarowicz, Hilton and Saunders in their 11-3 loss.
NIU now has a weekend off before the team is faced with a home-and-home series against Wheaton College on Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8.
“It’s going to give us a lot of rest and it’s going to help us get back as a core and just forget about games and get back to being a team and just have fun,” Bilecki said.
“I think [the off-weekend] is going to help,” Hyken said. “Some of the guys are getting beat up. It’s a long season [with] bumps and bruises. Some of the guys need the weekend to recover. This weekend, they’ll have some time to think about the progress that we have made and focus on that and come back fresh next weekend and ready to go.”
“After [Monday’s] practice, it was good conditioning, so I think it’ll for sure help us since we don’t have games,” Saunders said. “Hopefully, we have some team bonding this weekend.”
“[Monday], we worked harder on skating and stuff,” Peterson said. “Wednesday, we might have like a fun day to get our minds off of it. And then we’ll get back to work next week. So, it will probably be good to get our minds off of it.”
The Huskies know what they have to do to earn 2 victories against Wheaton.
“I believe we got to play a full 60 minutes and I think we would come out with a victory both nights,” Saunders said.
“[We have to] play as a team, as a unit, and just skate the whole 60 minutes and not 50 or 55 minutes, the whole 60,” Bilecki said.
“We need to play a whole game and not panic when they get a 2 goal lead because there’s 60 minutes,” Peterson said. “We don’t play like, 30 minutes. So, that’s what we got to do. And we have to help JoJo out.”
The November 7 contest is slated to begin at 10:10 p.m. at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee and the November 8 game is set to begin at 10:20 p.m. at Center Ice of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.