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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Hockey rested, ready for Redbirds

Courtesy NIU Hockey
Junior defenseman Keaton Peters and graduate student forward Nick Gonzalez defend the net in NIU Hockey’s game against Midland University on Oct. 27. The Huskies are gearing up to take on rival Illinois State University this weekend. (Courtesy of NIU Hockey)

DeKALB – Rested and refreshed after a grueling seven-week-in-a-row span of games, NIU Hockey (0-12-2, 0-8 MCH) is poised to find its much-needed first win.

The recent rest comes at a good time for NIU, as they travel down I-39 to take on the No. 22 ranked Illinois State University (9-7, 2-4 MCH) Redbirds in a two-game road series. 


For the struggling Huskies, the week off acted as a chance to refocus on coming together as a team. 

“Getting away from the rink for a week and just focus on having fun,” junior defenseman Keaton Peters said. “Figuring out what hockey is again and just having fun with the boys and not worrying about wins and losses or what’s going on in the first two months of the year.”

Aside from the chance to reset mentally, Peters said the weekend without games allowed the team to refresh physically and gave motivation to get back to work. 

“The boys are actually really energized this week so far at practice – everyone’s engaged … just glad to be back on the ice,” Peters said. “When you’re out there and you’re playing a full season and you’re in the grind, and then having that week to reset just lets you refocus and just get back to doing what you do well honestly as a team.”


ISU has no shortage of offensive firepower, as five different Redbirds have already recorded 10 or more points this season. 

Headlining the attack for the Redbirds is senior forward Tony Campise and freshman forward Ethan Chesney, who lead ISU with 9 and 8 goals, respectively. 

“The main key is you can’t let them get going,” Peters said of slowing down Campise and Chesney. “You have to stop them in the D zone before they pick up speed and just make everybody look silly. They’re really skilled guys, so you don’t want them having the puck on their stick at all.” 

Being the offensive powerhouses of ISU, Peters said keeping Campise and Chesney contained in their own zone will keep them uncomfortable on the ice. 

“Those guys are not very defensive minded,” Peters said. “So, if we can play as much offense as possible, they’ll kind of check out of the game, and we’ll be able to take away their offense from their game.”


The Huskies and the Redbirds clash for the first time this season at 7 p.m. Friday at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington. 

The game will be streamed on the Illinois State Hockey YouTube channel.

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