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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Hockey seeks revenge in first road series

Huskies looking ahead after winless opening weekend
Beverly Buchinger
Freshman defenseman Jim Franklin rushes the puck into the offensive zone during NIU hockey’s game against Kent State University on Sept. 15. Franklin scored his first collegiate goal in the game. (Beverly Buchinger | NIU hockey)

DeKALB – After a disappointing opening weekend series against Kent State University, NIU hockey (0-2) is gearing up to travel downstate for a road matchup with the University of Illinois (0-0). 

The Huskies dropped their two-game set to Kent State by final scores of 8-2 Friday and 4-3 Saturday. 


The team’s confidence has not wavered despite not getting the results it hoped for. 

Freshman defenseman Jim Franklin credited the team for not getting too down on itself after a difficult weekend of games. 

“Usually when you lose two hard games like that – especially that first game on Friday – it causes an overshadow and just a lot of doubt in the team,” Franklin said. “But we really didn’t respond like that. We had a lot of good character in the locker room.”

The team is looking at the rebound performance from an 8-2 loss to a much closer 4-3 score as a sign that better results are on the horizon. 

“We bounced back quite a bit to get that 4-3 (score),” freshman defenseman Ethan Koval said. “Still a loss on the second game, but a lot closer game. We do believe that we have good skill, a good core and good pieces.”


A point of emphasis for the Huskies’ weekend losses was the amount of odd-man breaks leading to Kent State scoring chances.

“We’re losing guys off our back three, four times in the first period,” head coach Brad Stoffers said after Saturday’s loss. “There’s two breakaways, a 2-on-0, multiple 2-on-1’s and 3-on-2’s.”

In order to clean up the high-danger chances created by the odd man rushes, Koval said the team needs to limit mistakes in the middle of the ice. 

“If we just play a strong neutral zone, we shouldn’t have that problem at all this weekend,” Koval said. “That’s where a lot of it (odd-man rushes) came from, was just quick turnovers right before our blue line.” 

Franklin emphasized being aware of the situation and knowing the right moment to step up at the offensive blue line as a key to limiting odd-man chances. 

“We can have better positioning,” Franklin said. “Myself included, I was a bit out of position and had a bit of a far step on one of them and just left my partner out to dry. So, we just got to be better as D-men (defensemen) and partners – trust each other and talk to each other.” 


The Huskies embark on their first road series of the season this weekend, taking the lessons learned from opening weekend and using it as motivation to get on track this weekend. 

“The whole team is kind of on a little revenge quest,” Franklin said. “That obviously wasn’t the start we wanted … we just have a bigger fire now to just come out and just give the fans and the team what we deserve and get us a few wins.” 

NIU kicks off its weekend battle with Illinois at 7 p.m. Friday and closes the series at 7 p.m. Saturday. 

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