Northern Star




Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student media since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Hockey opens conference slate at Midland

Huskies look for elusive first win in conference opener
Courtesy NIU Hockey
Junior defenseman Keaton Peters defends on Sept. 15 in NIU’s defensive zone. The Huskies fell in their home opener by a final score of 8-2. (Courtesy of NIU Hockey)

DeKALB – With heartbreak in the rearview mirror, NIU hockey is gearing up to kick off Midwest College Hockey action against the Midland University Warriors in a two-game road series.

The Huskies are fresh off two heartbreaking defeats against Western Michigan University – a 3-2 shootout loss on Friday and a 3-2 overtime loss on Saturday. 


Despite the tightly-contested losses, the team feels it is inching closer to figuring out how to take the final step to closing out the neck-and-neck games.

“It was nice to be in close games and have those overtime games where everybody’s engaged,” junior defenseman Keaton Peters said. “We gave them (Western Michigan) a goal … the shift after we scored to take the lead. We ended up giving the goal right back with seven minutes to play. A good team that knows how to win, you’re going to close out that game with a one-goal lead with seven minutes. You just have to find a way to close that game out. And we’re just learning.

The Huskies played their games against Western Michigan with a short bench due to injuries and ineligible players. 

Even though playing undermanned was difficult, freshman defenseman Jim Franklin said their effort proved they’re close to finding success. 

“Those two tough losses, that hurts,” Franklin said. “But the team – 13 guys, not a lot of us – I think that brought us a lot closer. Kind of helped everybody bond a little bit more and just kind of get that core welded together and help us bring it all into this next coming week.”


This weekend’s series at Midland will be NIU’s third straight weekend on the road, meaning fatigue can take hold. 

Peters said getting past the fatigue comes down to how the team prepares physically. 

“The key when you play road games on the weekends is mainly just how you prepare and prepare your body during the week,” Peters said. “Whether that’s nutrition, stretching, good practices, but as well as taking it light in some drills where if something’s really bothering you, you want to take that drill off.” 

The trip to Midland is over a six-hour bus ride, meaning the Huskies will be stationary in the hours leading up to Friday’s game. 

Franklin laid out what the team will need to do to combat what they refer to as “bus legs.” 

“You just sit there the whole time, your blood stops flowing, you go a little bit limp, your legs get a little tired,” Franklin said. “If you get a good night’s rest, get a good warm up and your legs have been activated the whole day, you just feel a lot better.”


The trip to Midland opens the conference slate for NIU, who are looking to get off to a fast start and build on that success. 

“I hold this as higher stakes rather than our other games,” Franklin said. “Everything is high stakes of course, but when it comes down to conference, that’s when it really matters. And when you’re on the outside looking in, and you’re looking at our conference, we want to be high up there even if we don’t maybe have the best overall record right now. If we can start off conference play strong and get established up there, then we can … build and get back to where we want to be.”

The Huskies meet the Warriors for the series opener at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Sidner Ice Arena in Fremont, Nebraska. The series concludes at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

The game will be streamed on the Midland sports YouTube channel. 

More to Discover