High Expectations for NIU D2 – 2018-2019 Season Preview


By Kim Wrona

9/13/2018 – DeKalb, IL | The 2018-2019 NIU Hockey season is finally here! Get up to speed on the offseason changes and the expectations for this year before the DII Huskies take the ice on the brand-new season.

Mike Rucinski is the new head coach for the DII Huskies. Rucinski previously played for the Chicago Blackhawks and their IHL affiliates, the Calgary Flames and their IHL affiliate and played his college hockey at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). Rucinski was also inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

John Luciana will return as assistant coach of the DII program and Jim Bristol and Andy Wallace will also be joining him as assistants.

Bristol previously played hockey for Clarkson University (ECAC DI) and has coached various levels of hockey, from mites to NCAA DIII, in the Chicagoland area since 1980. Wallace has been coaching various levels of hockey as well, from mites to high school, in the Chicagoland area since 1990.

The Huskies have a new face in the blue paint for 2018-2019. Goaltender Stephen Thulin comes to NIU after playing with the University of Connecticut (NCAA DI). Thulin is the first NCAA DI player to ever play for the Huskies.

With a clean slate for the season, the Huskies are looking to make an impact in the MACHA and the ACHA.

“Our goals and expectations this year are to make the MACHA playoffs, make regionals and get back to the winning ways of NIU Huskies Hockey,” general manager Ian Kalanges said.

The Huskies will open the new season on the road against the University of Iowa in two MACHA Conference games. The Huskies and Hawkeyes face-off at 8:45 p.m. on September 14 at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids, IA, and at 6:30 p.m. on September 15 at Young Arena in Waterloo, IA.