By Kim Wrona
2/8/18 – DeKalb, IL | The DIII Huskies hosted the Dordt College Blades at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee for the final regular season games of the 2017-2018 season. The Huskies and the Blades split the weekend series.
Senior forward Mike Wojtkiewicz tallied six points on the weekend (4 G, 2 A) while senior forwards Brian Kostecka (G, 2 A), Danny Behles (2 G, A) and junior forward Thomas Knetl (3 A) all tallied three points during the two games.
The Blades got on the board first on Friday and took a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Wojtkiewicz scored his first goal of the season at 4:20 and then Kostecka netted his 12th marker on the 2017-2018 campaign at 8:13 to cut the NIU deficit to one goal.
Less than a minute later, the Blades responded with a shorthanded goal to restore their two-goal lead. The visitors then added a late tally in the third period to take a 5-2 victory over the Huskies.
Sophomore goaltender Josh Stoos made 39 saves on 44 shots in the contest. Dordt outshot NIU by a 44-33 margin. The Huskies and the Blades both went 0-for-3 on the power play.
Saturday’s match-up was Senior Night for NIU. The seniors graduating in May for the Huskies are Behles, Kostecka, and forward Trevor Bondarowicz.
Senior Night didn’t get off to a great start for NIU as the Blades took a 3-0 lead once again early in the second period.
Wojtkiewicz tallied two consecutive goals, including a power-play goal, to bring the Huskies within a goal. Behles tied the game up for NIU with his 16th goal of the season while the Huskies were on a power play.
The Blades took a 4-3 lead 8:30 into the third period, but the Huskies stepped up to the challenge. Behles tied the game up at four with his 17th goal of the season and second of the night at 15:20. Wojtkiewicz then completed his hat trick with less than a minute remaining in regulation for his fourth goal of the season and to give the Huskies a 5-4 victory over the Blades.
Freshman goaltender Ethan Koncor made 48 saves on 52 shots in the contest. Dordt outshot NIU by a 52-33 margin. The Huskies went 2-for-4 on the power play and killed off all three of the Blades’ man advantages. The DIII Huskies finished the 2017-2018 regular season with a record of 9-20-0-0.
The Huskies look to defend their MACHA Bronze Championship title as they will compete in the MACHA Bronze Playoffs on February 9. At 1:00 p.m., NIU (no. 3 seed) will face-off against Washington University (no. 2 seed) in the first round at Owens Center in Peoria, IL. If the Huskies get past Washington, they’ll play for their fourth consecutive MACHA Bronze Championship on February 10 at 1:00 p.m. at Owens Center.