DIII Huskies sweep SIUE

DIII Huskies sweep SIUE

By Kim Wrona

DeKalb, IL – 12/12/14  |  The DIII Huskies hosted Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on December 5 and 6 at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee.  NIU produced two wins in a successful homestand.

Friday night’s game saw SIUE go up first with a marker at the 3:37 mark of the first period.  SIUE extended its lead to 2-0 with a shot from the slot that went glove side on sophomore goaltender JoJo Durrbeck just under six minutes into the game.

With 7:22 left in the opening frame, junior forward Tyler Hilton sent a shot past the SIUE goaltender’s glove to cut NIU’s deficit to one.  Senior forward Kyle Cornier tied the game up at two with a power play goal with 4:06 left in the period.

Cornier then gave the Huskies a 3-2 lead with a shot through traffic with 8:22 remaining in the sandwich stanza.  The Huskies added to their lead just before the 6 minute mark of the third period with Hilton’s second tally of the night.

At 17:06 of the final frame, sophomore forward Jeremy Bilecki followed up on a Hilton rebound to make it 5-2 NIU.  The Huskies were then able to hold on to the lead for the victory.

“We had a rough start to the first game, giving up two goals in ten minutes of the first period, but we didn’t let it affect us,” Durrbeck said.  “And we score five unanswered [goals] and locked it down defensively.  I felt that our experience and good habits from the ISU weekend certainly helped us, too.”

Saturday’s game started better for NIU than on Friday.  Senior forward and team captain Jc Weems deflected in a Cornier shot from the point to put the Huskies up 1-0 early in the opening period.

Despite the fact that SIUE tied the game up at one just over a minute later, the Huskies stormed back in the period with two more goals, courtesy of sophomore forward Ryan Saunders as he crashed the net and with a shot from Cornier to make it 3-1 in NIU’s favor.

The Huskies struck again with 3:07 left in the second period as sophomore defenseman Erik Demmin’s shot from the high slot found the back of the net on a power play to make it 4-1.

The NIU offense really came alive in the third period as sophomore forward Brian Kostecka, senior forward Brian Staffeldt, freshman forward James Bolin, junior defenseman Brandon Bangert and Weems all tallied to make the score and the final 9-1 NIU.

“We played another solid, overall weekend against SIUE,” Durrbeck said.  “[Saturday’s] game was more of an offensive game from us and [we] only had one defensive breakdown that led to the one goal they scored.  I think, overall, our success came from limiting our defensive breakdowns and [we used] that to kick start our offense, which is what I think we need to do to see success.”

The Huskies will finish out the first semester of the 2014-15 season with three games in three days.  They will face Wheaton College on December 12 and 13 and then take on Aurora University on December 14.

“This three game weekend for us will be big to close our first semester as we have two league games and a lot to prove against an Aurora team,” Durrbeck said.  “We just need to focus on continuing our good habits from the last couple of weekends and we will come out of this weekend happy with our performances.”

Both Friday and Saturday’s games against Wheaton are set to begin at 9 p.m. at Center Ice of DuPage in Glen Ellyn while Sunday’s game against Aurora is slated to start at 5:50 p.m. at Leafs Ice Centre.