By Kim Wrona
11/15/17 – DeKalb, IL | The DIII Huskies participated in the Robert Morris University Showcase from November 10-12 at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, IL. NIU played three games in three days and finished the tournament with a 1-2-0-0 record.
Friday afternoon the Huskies took on RMU-White to begin the Showcase. NIU got out to a good start as senior forward and team captain Danny Behles netted his sixth goal of the season 1:40 into the game to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles tied the game early in the second period with a power play goal, but the Huskies restored their one goal lead with at 5:56 with senior forward Cody Billeck’s first goal of the season. Senior forward Trevor Bondarowicz extended the NIU lead to 3-1 with a power play tally for his fourth goal of the year.
The Eagles opened up the third period with a shorthanded goal at the 22 second mark and an even strength marker two minutes later to tie the game up at three.
Behles put the Huskies back out in front with his second tally of the game at 6:57. The go-ahead goal came on the power play and was Behles’ seventh on the 2017-18 campaign.
The Huskies held on for the remainder of regulation for the 4-3 victory over the Eagles. Freshman goaltender Ethan Koncor made 34 saves on 37 shots in the contest. NIU outshot RMU by a 41-37 margin. The Eagles went 1-for-4 on the power play while the Huskies went 2-for-7 on their man advantages.
“Friday we came out a little flat in the first period but luckily snagged a quick goal,” Koncor said. “At the beginning of the third, RMU took a turnover and scored shorthanded on a breakaway and another goal came quick after. Then we battled out the third and ended up putting one away to finish out 4-3. The boys dug deep and battled hard, playing better each period to get the W.”
The Huskies battled against Missouri State University on Saturday afternoon. The Bears netted the first goal of the contest late in the first period as a loose puck in the crease was tapped home.
The Huskies tied the game up at one at the 12:04 mark of the middle frame. Senior forward Brian Kostecka scored with a shot from the left circle for his fourth goal of the season after being set-up by Bondarowicz.
The Bears regained their one goal lead with 4:47 left in the second period. Missouri State then added a power play goal with a shot from below the right circle at 9:23 of the third period to take a 3-1 lead, and that score stood as the final.
Sophomore goaltender Carl Lindgren made 55 saves on 58 shots in the contest. Missouri State outshot NIU by a 58-12 margin. The Bears went 1-for-5 on the power play while the Huskies failed to convert on all of their nine man advantages.
“I️ thought we played good,” Lindgren said. “We were moving the puck good and getting into the battles with them. [The game was a] tough battle, a couple tough bounces hurt us, but all-in-all we played solid. We used our skill to our advantage and had a full roster in our arsenal. We came out with a chip on our shoulder after being blown out by them last year. [It was a] big character building game. Everyone grinding every shift is the best way to play a hockey game.”
To conclude the tournament, the Huskies battled the University of Wisconsin-Platteville on Sunday. The Pioneers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period; their second marker was a power play tally.
23 seconds into the middle frame, the Pioneers extended their lead to 3-0. Kostecka closed the gap to two goals with 3:13 left in the period with his fifth goal of the season.
The Pioneers added two goals in the third period and defeated the Huskies by a score of 6-1. Sophomore goaltender Josh Stoos made 49 saves on 55 shots in the contest. UW-Platteville outshot NIU by a 55-25 margin. The Pioneers scored on their lone power play while the Huskies failed to convert on their two man advantages.
“Obviously, Platteville’s a really good hockey team,” Stoos said. “I feel we played really solid on Sunday. Everyone was seeing each other on the ice and we were able to execute quite a few good, smart plays. There were definitely a few goals I would like to have back, but it was a much closer game than the scoresheet showed.”
The DIII Huskies are now 3-12-0-0 on the 2017-18 campaign. The next time NIU takes the ice, the team will be at home taking on the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds. At 7:20 p.m. on November 17 and at 3:30 p.m. on November 18, the Huskies and Greyhounds wall face-off at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee, IL.