Huskies preparing for final home series vs. Drury


Beverly Buchinger

NIU freshman forward Cam Pathana (64) pressures a Purdue University Northwest player during a game on Oct. 14 at Canlan Ice Sports in West Dundee. (Beverly Buchinger | NIU Hockey)

By Alex Crowe, Assistant Sports Editor

DeKALB – Huskies Hockey (2-22, 1-13 MCH) looks to get back in the win column after being swept by Midland in Nebraska when they take on Drury University (2-13, 2-13 MACHA) in the final home series of the season Friday and Saturday. 

NIU has struggled with getting off to a good start in recent games, having given up 14 goals in the first period over the last four games. 

With the team looking to have better starts, senior forward Hunter Wahl pinned last weekend’s early game struggles on a lack of focus.

“When you do it (start slow) two games in a row it’s obvious that you got a lot of boys’ heads that are just not in the right spot,” Wahl said. “Going into this weekend, just making sure everyone’s on the same page, everyone’s ready to win and everyone’s ready to get it done.”

The Huskies are returning home to face Drury, and sophomore goaltender Grant Goodson said the team will not have to contend with bus legs and will be fresh going into a series against a beatable team. 

“We’re going to be well rested,” Goodson said. “Another factor of it is we are coming in as probably a favorite for the first time in a long time. So I think that confidence is … going to kick right off the bat.”

While enduring a four-game losing streak, frustration can boil over. Goodson said while the team needs to continue working with each other, allowing emotion to show will only help going forward. 

“We’ve had anger, we’ve had yelling, but it’s a lot of just trying to stick together,” Goodson said. “Competition has been really good. Everyone’s been fighting hard, and I think that should lead to a little bit of a better weekend this time.”

Wahl wants the team to take the Midland losses in stride and hang on to the confidence they’ve gained from recent wins. 

“We lost to a team that has less skill than us … So, we need to understand that,” Wahl said. “Just because you got out-worked doesn’t mean that you’re any worse of a team. You just have to bounce back from it.” 

The Huskies will be celebrating senior night on Saturday, which will be the final home game of the season. 

Having been in the program for four years, Wahl has seen multiple senior nights and expects the high emotions to provide a spark for the team. 

“Every senior weekend that always comes around … it’s emotional, it’s a roller coaster,” Wahl said. “So for them, it’s a big pump up before the game and for the boys.” 

Goodson, who isn’t a part of the graduating class, still sees winning on senior night as bigger than a normal victory. 

“I’ve been teammates with a couple of these guys for two years now and they’ve been nothing but great to me,” Goodson said. “So, to see them come away with a win and be excited on that night … means everything to me.” 

The Huskies clash with Drury at 7:30 p.m. Friday and finish the two-game series at 5 p.m. Saturday at Canlan Ice Sports in West Dundee.

The Huskies will welcome NIU Hockey alumni back to West Dundee and will hold a charity event for the Loving Leo Foundation on Friday. 

Saturday, NIU will celebrate its seniors with senior night – giving away a team photo and will cap off the night with a post-game skate with the team. 

Students receive free admission with their OneCard, and general admission is $5.

The games will be available to watch via NIU Hockey’s YouTube channel.