By Kim Wrona
10/22/14 – DeKalb, IL | The DIII Huskies took on Northwestern University on Friday and Sunday, but were unable to come away with a victory; they lost 5-2 on Friday and 9-1 on Sunday.
Northwestern jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 3:41 mark on Friday night, but the Huskies were quickly able to tie the game up with a tally from sophomore forward Jeremy Bilecki less than 2 minutes later. The Wildcats scored twice more before the period ended and then at the 10:39 mark of the second period to jump out to a 4-1 lead.
Junior forward Tyler Hilton got on the board for NIU to bring the Huskies within 2, but Northwestern restored their lead in the third period and took the game by a score of 5-2.
“We played bad,” head coach Nick Madonia said about Friday’s game. “That’s the only way to describe it. We had a bad practice Monday and a bad start to the game Friday and they’re totally related. If you have a bad practice, and it’s as bad as it was on Monday, it’s going to carry over to the game.”
“We were not there mentally, and it showed,” sophomore defenseman Bryan Peterson said. “We played like garbage.”
“Friday’s game was pretty much a failure from the start I feel like,” senior forward Brian Staffeldt said. “We didn’t come out as strong as we have been the past couple games. We didn’t capitalize on the power plays or anything. Overall, it just wasn’t a good game.”
“We knew that they were a good team,” sophomore goaltender JoJo Durrbeck—who made 43 saves on Friday–said. “They brought the same exact level that we thought they would bring. The difference with them, other than the other teams, they just brought way more traffic than I was used to at all this season. I’m used to a lot of traffic, but they bring bodies and then they throw pucks to the net. They create a lot of turnovers and then they use their rushes, odd-man rushes, and everything. So they have a good mix of everything. But they really focused on getting people to the net and screens and working on shots from the point, tips, just trying to make sure I didn’t see anything. That’s the only game plan I saw that was different from any other team that we played against.”
Sunday’s game didn’t get much better for the Huskies offensively. They didn’t score their first—and only—goal until the 17:23 mark of the third period. Freshman forward Eric Brennan was the one who lit the lamp; the assists went to senior defenseman Gregg Jacobson and senior forward Kyle Cornier.
The Wildcats scored twice in the first period, once in the second period and 6 times in the third period. The Huskies were handed 5 DQ’s during the game: Madonia, assistant coach Brian Hyken, Peterson, Staffeldt and team captain and senior forward Jc Weems.
Before the shenanigans began, the Huskies did get out to a better start than on Friday night.
“Sunday’s game we came out a lot better, but we got in all the bullcrap that got us in a lot of trouble,” Staffeldt said. “Once Madonia got thrown out, I feel like we lost the tempo for our team and everything.”
“[We played] a lot better,” Peterson said. “We were just very unlucky. We couldn’t score, so we got to work on that in practice, but a lot better except for the third period.”
“We actually outplayed them for the first period and most of the second period, too, I’d say,” Madonia said. “We outplayed them, [but] we just couldn’t put shots on net. … The second goal was a shot from the point that Weems tipped in. So that’s a 2-0 lead that they shouldn’t have had. They [the first and second goals] were both deflections. We just didn’t put enough shots on net.”
“I feel like it was a completely different game,” Durrbeck–who made 43 saves on Sunday–said. “We started off good and it went down from there, whereas we started off bad and then went up from there on Friday. It was 2 bad bounces in the first period. I think, overall, we were pretty positive after the first. And then the second period, we started getting a little more penalties each way and started to become more of a power play, more of a 4-on-3, 4-on-4, special teams [game] and stuff like that. It kind of took away from our game plan of just playing our game 5-on-5, maybe getting a couple of power plays in our favor. I think it didn’t really help to get all of those special teams out there for our momentum purposes. I think it was 3-0 after the second. It wasn’t out of reach, but it wasn’t anywhere we wanted to be obviously.”
The Huskies will travel up to Marquette University for their next set of games on Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25.
“Marquette is a fast team,” Madonia said. “We need to either find a way to play as fast as them or slow them down. They can be slowed down, they can be scored on. We scored on them before, but they always find a way to outscore us. We just need to be smart defensively and be responsible.”
“We need to skate like we did on Sunday for the first 2 periods, go hard and fast,” Peterson said. “We need to tighten it up again in our D-zone and all 4 lines need to show up for forwards and get some points because we could not score all weekend.”
“[We need to] just have a couple of good practices this week, get everything ready for Friday and Saturday, make sure everyone is in sync and everything,” Staffeldt said. “Just come out flying a lot better than last Friday and Sunday.”
“I think we need to just bear down even more,” Durrbeck said. “They’re a really good team and they beat Northwestern and Northwestern swept us, so obviously, we need to bring more of our heads into it and really just focus on, like I said last week, limiting our mistakes, staying out of the box, staying out of all the crap and just really focusing on putting pucks to the net, getting bodies to the net and really focusing on scoring and not letting them score. I think it’s really how we have to approach this weekend because we need to simplify things. I think scoring goals and not letting them score goals is really how we have to focus this weekend.”
Friday’s game is slated to start at 7:10 p.m. and Saturday’s contest is set for 12:40 p.m. Both contests will be held at The Ponds of Brookfield in Brookfield, WI.