By Kim Wrona
12/19/14 – DeKalb, IL | The DIII Huskies closed out the first semester of their 2014-15 season with back-to-back match-ups against Wheaton College at Center Ice of DuPage on December 12 and 13.
Friday night’s game started off on the right foot for NIU as senior forward Kyle Cornier put the visitors up on the board just past the four minute mark of the first period. Just over a minute later, Wheaton was able to get on the board with a shot that got by freshman goaltender Jake Tower low blocker side.
The Huskies grabbed the lead back with a marker from sophomore forward Brian Kostecka at 6:23 of the opening period. Sophomore defenseman Bryan Peterson then added to the NIU lead with 2:05 left in the frame with a power play goal off of a shot from the left point to make it 3-1.
NIU tacked on three more markers during the sandwich stanza.
Sophomore forward Ryan Saunders put one home from a tough angle to give the Huskies a three goal lead at 9:25 of the second period. With 3:24 remaining, sophomore forward Jeremy Bilecki tipped in a shot into an open net to make it 5-1. 20 seconds later, junior forward Tyler Hilton potted one from Bilecki to make it 6-1 NIU; that goal also caused Wheaton to change its netminder.
Bilecki added his second tally of the night with a one timer from the right circle with 6:02 remaining in the game to make the score and the final 7-1 in the Huskies’ favor.
Saturday night’s game started the same as Friday night’s game as Cornier put the Huskies up 1-0 in the first period; the goal came at the 23 second mark of the first period.
Unlike the first period of Friday’s contest, the Huskies were able to keep Wheaton off the board as NIU posted two more goals from freshman defenseman Eddie Belliveau and freshman forward Eric Brennan to make it 3-0 after the first 20 minutes.
At the 1:30 mark of the second period, Kostecka’s shot from the left circle went five-hole on the Wheaton netminder; Brennan may have gotten a piece of it on its way in though as the Huskies went up 4-0.
Hilton put NIU up 5-0 with a great shot at the 12:37 mark of the middle frame. With 2:09 left in the period, junior forward Kyle Luken sent a shot into the back of the net from the slot to put the Huskies up by a touchdown.
Wheaton was able to break senior goaltender Jessica Stubitsch’s attempt at a shutout early in the third period, but the Huskies bounced back and added three more goals afterwards.
Senior defenseman Gregg Jacobson added the extra point on the board as he scored from the bottom of the right circle with 9:12 to go to make it 7-1 Huskies. Freshman forward Billy Petersen tallied just under two minutes later to put NIU up 8-1; junior forward Matt Schaben recorded the assist on that marker.
Cornier capped the scoring with his second marker of the night with 5:38 left in the tilt with a shot from the right circle to make the score and the final 9-1 NIU as the Huskies swept Wheaton for the second time this season.
“It was really good for the team to end the semester on a four game win streak,” Bryan Peterson said. “We really improved and worked on the breakout each game and it was nice to have a lot of people contribute goal wise. Not just one line scored so everyone felt good and felt that they had a hand in the wins.”
The Huskies won’t be back in action until the New Year as they enjoy their winter break. The next time the Huskies will see the ice in game action will be on January 10 and 11. Their Saturday contest will be against Robert Morris University Black at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville at 7:50 p.m. Their Sunday tilt will be an outdoor game against RMU Black at MB Financial Park in Rosemont at 4 p.m.