By Kim Wrona
3/22/17 – DeKalb, IL | The DIII Huskies went into the MACHA Bronze Playoffs looking to win their third consecutive championship on February 10 and 11 at Owens Center in Peoria, IL.
In the first round of the playoffs on February 10, NIU took on Western Illinois University. The Huskies were the third seed in the Bronze Division with a division record of 6-0-0-0 while WIU was the second seed with a division record of 6-8-0-0.
The Huskies defeated Western by a score of 12-3 to advance to the MACHA Bronze Championship game on February 11 where they were set to take on Lewis University, who was the first seed with a division record of 7-2-0-0.
The Huskies took a 3-2 lead going into the third period of play and were able to tack on an insurance goal with 12:25 remaining in regulation as sophomore forward Tom Knetl tallied his 11th goal of the season to put NIU up 4-2.
The Huskies were then able to hang on for the victory to win their third consecutive MACHA Bronze Championship.
“The game was really tough,” junior forward Trevor Bondarowicz said. “We pushed ourselves on every play to get the puck out and deep into the other team’s zone. After the final buzzer went, [we were] excited for the team, for the freshmen playing in their first year to the seniors playing their last collegiate game.”
The DIII Huskies’ final record of the 2016-17 season was 11-18-2-0. Junior forward Danny Behles led the Huskies in scoring with 44 points (30 G, 14 A) in 27 games played. Senior forward Ryan Long was second in scoring with 28 points (14 G, 14 A) in 28 games played while Bondarowicz was third in scoring with 24 points (11 G, 13 A) in 28 games.