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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Hockey falls in penalty-riddled contest

Huskies and Redbirds let fists fly
Courtesy NIU Hockey
Freshman forward Micah Maldonado and freshman defenseman Jim Franklin line up for a faceoff during NIU Hockey’s game against Midland University on Oct. 28. The Huskies dropped their 16th straight game to Illinois State by a final score of 6-3 on Saturday. (Courtesy of NIU Hockey)

BLOOMINGTON – The players of Illinois State (11-7, 4-4 MCH) and NIU Hockey (0-14-2, 0-10 MCH) wrestled around on the ice, pushed each other around and let the punches fly in what was a chippy 6-3 victory for Illinois State on Saturday. 

The Redbirds’ offense, led by junior forward Will Tricarico’s hat trick, was too much for NIU to handle, leading to the Huskies’ 16th straight defeat. 

Despite the loss, assistant coach Jeremy Bower was satisfied with his squad’s performance after Friday’s blowout. 

“Everyone stepped up individually. But as a team, we were so much more composed,” Bower said. “We were more in control. I think we were the better team for more than half of that game.”


The second period of Saturday’s game was full of nastiness from each side, as the teams combined for 18 penalties and 68 penalty minutes in the middle 20 minutes alone. 

Net front scrums saw helmets removed, WWE-style takedowns and haymakers that would make Mike Tyson proud. 

Freshman defenseman Jim Franklin said the large number of second-period penalties caused the game to slow down. 

“It really just drains you – exhaustion out of everybody,” Franklin said. “You’re diving for everything, you’re going for everything, you’re killing, you’re four-on-four, – lots of room, lots of time to skate with the puck. And it’s just a really exhausting, real challenging period.” 

Playing against the No. 22 ranked team in ISU to a 2-2 tie in the second period, Bower said the chippiness came down to frustration from ISU.

“I think the reason the chippiness happened was because the game was so tight,” Bower said. “We’re playing a team that’s No. 1 in our division, and we’re not. And I think that they were frustrated that we were playing them so tight.”


In both the first and second periods, the Redbirds potted goals in the final two minutes – the first to even the score at 1-1 late in the opening period and the next to extend the Redbird lead to 4-2 at the end of the middle frame. 

“Our clock knowledge has got to be way better,” said freshman forward Micah Maldonado. “When that two-minute mark hits, you just got to get it glass and out. Whenever you let teams, especially good ones, get those last momentum goals in the last dying minutes, it’s really a momentum killer.”

Franklin attributed the late-period goals to straightforward errors and said the sour taste from those goals can carry over into the next period. 

“Simple mistakes we can’t allow,” Franklin said. “Those are killers right before you go into the room, it hates it, it carries over into the next period. It’s just really a shot right in the gut when those happened in the last two.” 

The Huskies responded to ISU’s late first-period tally with a goal by Maldonado in the first minute of the second period to take a 2-1 lead but were unable to keep the advantage for more than four minutes. 


The Huskies’ next action will be the ACHA Showcase in Romeoville next weekend. The Huskies will face non-conference foes in the University of Alabama, the University of Rhode Island and No. 24 ranked Arizona State University.

“With a big showcase, big names coming up, I think it’s going to be good to scale ourselves,” Maldonado said. “We’ll run some film on these teams, but I think we’re ready for the challenge.” 

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