Jamestown smacks NIU in 15-2 rout


Beverly Buchinger | NIU Hockey

Senior forward Hunter Wahl handles the puck during NIU hockey’s game against Purdue University Northwest on Oct. 14. (Beverly Buchinger | NIU Hockey)

WEST DUNDEE – NIU Hockey fell into old habits and was embarrassed in its fourth and final regular season matchup with the University of Jamestown Jimmies (15-5, 9-1 MCH), who slaughtered the Huskies by a final score of 15-2 Saturday.

The loss gave Jamestown a season-series sweep over the Huskies (2-20, 1-11 MCH), who have now lost three of its last five games.

Despite the bad weekend, associate coach Wayne Bower – still filling in for the absent head coach Brad Stoffers – commended junior goaltender Ben Vutci, sophomore goaltender Grant Goodson, freshman goaltender Jacob Piros and junior goaltender Matthew Capek for tanking 167 Jamestown shots over the two games.

“As many goals as we’ve given up, you cannot blame the goaltenders one bit,” Bower said. They played their asses off all weekend.”

Jamestown grabbed the lead 48 seconds into the game when junior forward Jake Huculak buried a scoring chance off a shot from freshman forward Brad Fortin. Junior defenseman Greg Susinski, freshman forward Jordan Baranesky and junior forward Morgan Venne all tallied goals in the first period to give Jamestown a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes.

NIU struggled early this season with committing undisciplined penalties early in games, but have since remedied that issue taking three or less penalties in the first period in its previous three games.

The Huskies fell back into their old habits Saturday, taking six penalties in the first period – including a five-minute major plus game misconduct for spearing by sophomore forward Brandon Weitzel.

Bower suggested the early deficit got his team out of the right mindset.

“Probably was a little bit of frustration,” Bower said. “It tends to happen when you’re running around a little bit in your own end – and chasing them – and it’s just a natural reaction to take stick penalties.”

With the team struggling to find its footing, senior defenseman Alec Porzondek said the penalties are a result of players trying to provide a spark.

“It was, you know, trying to fire the boys up,” Porzondek said. “Maybe make a big hit that, you know, sometimes gets a penalty and that stuff happens and it is what it is.”

The Jimmies extended the lead to 7-0 within the first three minutes of the second period, including two goals from Baranesky to complete the hat-trick.

NIU finally ended its goalless-against-Jamestown streak on a power play 6:34 into the second period when senior forward Hunter Wahl slid a pass across the slot to Porzondek for a one-time shot that beat Jamestown freshman goaltender Brandon Weare.

Porzondek credited his teammates’ puck movement as the reason he was able to break the team’s goalless drought.

“We just had a tic-tac-toe play that finally opened up the lanes and (I) put it in the back of the net,” Porzondek said.

The Jimmies added two more goals, including Baranesky’s fourth tally of the game, before junior forward Matt Martin doubled the Huskies’ goal total off a turnover by a Jamestown defender.

Martin said dumping the puck in deep and fighting through contact helped him score on the strange play.

“It was weird,” Martin said. “I just chipped it and I was actually looking for a penalty – I thought I got interfered with – and then it just ended up on my stick right in front of the net.”

Jamestown tacked on two more goals to push the score to 11-2 after 40 minutes.

The third period saw Bower get thrown out of the game for arguing with the officials 4:30 into the period. Jamestown added four more goals to mercifully end the game with a 15-2 win and a whopping 94 shots on goal to the Huskies’ nine.

With NIU getting outscored 27-2 this weekend, Porzondek said the team’s poor execution of systems doomed them against a dangerous Jamestown squad.

“I feel like we shot ourselves in the foot,” Porzondek said. “We got away from the way we were playing the last three, four games and it clearly showed that … we aren’t really running a system.”

With the Midwest College Hockey playoffs on the horizon, Martin said the team needs to take these losses in stride and keep moving forward.

“We still got a lot of conference left,” Martin said. “We can still knock off some teams to get a good seed for playoffs … we can just learn from this.”

The Huskies travel to Fremont, Nebraska, to take on the Midland University Warriors (3-16, 3-5 MCH) for a two-game road series at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sidner Ice Arena.