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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Hockey falls in overtime thriller

Braate breaks Huskies’ hearts for second straight game
Courtesy NIU hockey
Graduate forward Rodahn Evans screens the Kent State goalie during NIU hockey’s game against Kent State University on Sept. 16. The Huskies fell to the Golden Flashes by a final score of 4-3. (Courtesy of NIU hockey)

KALAMAZOO – Another game resulted in another heartbreak for NIU hockey (0-4-2), who dropped an overtime thriller to sophomore forward Connor Braate and the rest of the Western Michigan University Stallions (3-4) by a final score of 3-2 on Saturday. 

Braate, who scored the shootout winner in Friday’s loss, rifled a shot past NIU freshman goaltender Caleb Cross just over a minute into overtime to send the Huskies back to DeKalb with another devastating defeat.


NIU took the lead with just under eight minutes to play on a goal by graduate forward Rodahn Evans, but relinquished the advantage on senior forward Blake Siewertsen’s goal just 24 seconds later.

“I thought we played well enough to win again,” head coach Brad Stoffers said. “Didn’t play a full 60 (minutes). After we took the lead in the third, we lost mental focus. They scored less than 30 seconds later. You have to be locked in there. It’s not a time to take a step back.”

The Huskies were pinned in their defensive zone for short spurts of the game, including an odd first period which saw WMU hold a 12-9 shot advantage but NIU hold a 1-0 lead. 

Evans said playing good defense early in the game helped the team open up the offense as the game went on.

“Honestly, the best offense is a good defense,” Evans said. “We were trying to play shut-down defense, and we’d get two-on-ones off of it. And we let up that second goal because we didn’t shut down defensively.” 


Cross made his third straight start Saturday, shutting down most of WMU’s attack and keeping the score tied until the eventual game-winning goal in overtime. 

“He’s (Cross) calming. He makes a big save or two each game to keep us in it – like, surefire goals,” Stoffers said. “He’s got what it takes to be your starting goalie, your number one guy. He’s very calming. He’ll make a big save or two or three in a game. He’s gonna save the ones that he should save. That’s what gives the team confidence, and they can play in front of a guy like that, when they’re (the goaltender) playing like that.”

Despite starting three straight games and two straight overtime games, Cross said his mindset stayed the same Saturday and felt the wear of three-straight starts after the game.

“I tried to think of it as normal five-on-five hockey,” Cross said. “In the moment, I really don’t think anything. So, I feel it after the game.”

In his two starts this weekend, Cross gave up just five goals on 83 shots. 


Still in search of its first win, dropping two close games in overtime is a tough pill to swallow for NIU. 

Stoffers said despite how difficult losing two heartbreakers is, there’s still a long way to go to get the season on track. 

“It’s still September, so it’s still early,” Stoffers said. “I don’t think necessarily guys are getting down or anything like that. Of course, it is heartbreaking to lose in that fashion two nights in a row, but the season’s still early, and we’ve got a lot of time left.”

The Huskies kick off Midwest College Hockey play next weekend when they take on Midland University at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sidner Ice Arena in Fremont, Nebraska.

“We just got to forget about these last games,” Cross said. “With conference starting … we got to make sure we get some wins in conference play, especially next week going out to Midland.”

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