DIII Huskies split with Illinois State

DIII Huskies split with Illinois State

By Kim Wrona

11/26/14 – DeKalb, IL  |  The DIII Huskies took on Illinois State University this weekend at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee as they closed out the month of November.

The Huskies started the scoring early in Friday’s contest.  Junior forward Tyler Hilton and sophomore forward Jeremy Bilecki’s give-and-go sequence within the first 3 minutes of the game saw Hilton fire one into the back of the net to give the Huskies the early 1-0 lead. 

8 seconds later, freshman forward Billy Petersen scored to put the Huskies up 2-0.  Hilton added his second marker of the contest just 17 seconds after Petersen’s goal.  The Huskies continued to score as freshman defenseman Eddie Belliveau scored a power play goal with a shot from the point at the 10:57 mark of the opening period to make it 4-0.

With 13.4 seconds to go in the opening frame, ISU broke sophomore goaltender JoJo Durrbeck’s bid at a shutout with a wraparound goal to make it 4-1 NIU.

At the 4:50 mark of the second period, ISU got on the board again to cut the NIU lead to 2 goals.  Belliveau restored the 3 goal lead with his second of the night with a shot from the point at 14:56 of the period.

The Huskies’ team toughness was put on display with 1:51 remaining in the sandwich stanza as sophomore defenseman Bryan Peterson was hit up high by an ISU player.  Sophomore forward Brian Kostecka came in to defend his teammate; he was given a 5 minute major for fighting and was DQ’d.  The Huskies found themselves on a power play though as the ISU player was given a 5 minute major for head contact in addition to his fighting penalties.

Before the period was over, ISU tallied a shorthanded goal to make it 5-3 NIU, but the Huskies answered before the 3 minute mark of the final frame as Belliveau completed his hat trick with another power play goal with another shot from the point.  The Huskies were able to hang on to the 6-3 lead for the victory.

“Friday was a great game,” head coach Nick Madonia said.  “We came out and scored 3 goals in the first 4 minutes and really kind of set our tone for the rest of the game.  We played fast and we kind of shut down everything that ISU was trying to do.”

“This weekend was a huge weekend because of the rivalry NIU and ISU has,” Durrbeck said.  “It’s a great thing to be a part of.  I think it really showed from the start of the first game to the very end of the last game that it was a battle.  We played really well, coming out to score 4 goals real quick in the first period of Friday’s game, which ultimately gave us the confidence to control the rest of that game.”

“It was nice getting 1 goal, let alone 3,” Belliveau said about his hat trick.  “It helped that the forwards were setting up the power play and sending nice passes to the point for me to take the shot.”

Saturday’s contest featured a scoreless first period, but did feature a few penalties for either team.  As a result, ISU had a 2 man advantage for 54 seconds to start the second period.

The Huskies were able to tally a shorthanded goal on that ISU power play as senior forward and team captain Jc Weems got the puck from sophomore forward Ryan Saunders and scored at the 1:15 mark of the period.

At the 5 minute point, ISU was able to score to tie the game up at 1 with a shot that went blocker side on Durrbeck.  Bilecki restored the NIU lead with 2:37 left in the middle frame with a power play goal. 

The Huskies held the lead until the 3:16 mark of the third period when ISU tied the game up at 2.  The visitors then went ahead with 5:45 left in regulation as a shot went glove side on Durrbeck.  ISU then made it 4-2 just over a minute later, which ended up being the final score.

“Saturday’s game was another great game played by our guys,” Madonia said.  “[ISU] just got a couple of funny bounces that put them ahead of us.”

“We played 2 great games; they were some of the most competitive games we have played this year,” Belliveau said.  “Our team played hard all weekend and it was hard to see us lose on Saturday.  Hopefully we can bounce back and play just as hard next weekend.”

“Saturday’s game was another great one and was a little different in the fact that it was a scoreless tie after the first,” Durrbeck said.  “It was hard fought to the very end but I think we made a couple mistakes late in the third which ultimately lost us the game.  Overall, it was a positive weekend and I look forward to taking this momentum into the games against SIUE, which we know very well considering we’ve played them 3 times this year already.”

The Huskies will host Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on December 5 and 6 at Leafs Ice Centre.

“They played us real close in that Sunday game at the Robert Morris Showcase so if we keep playing the way we’ve played the last few games, we’ll be fine against SIU,” Madonia said.

Friday’s contest is set to begin at 10 p.m. and Saturday’s tilt is slated to start at 8 p.m.