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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Hockey looks to tame Pride

Confident Huskies ready for home-and-home with Purdue Northwest
Courtesy NIU Hockey
Freshman forward Jeff Shirkey carries the puck into the offensive zone on Nov. 17 against Alabama. The Huskies are gearing up to take on No. 11 ranked Purdue University Northwest this weekend. (Courtesy of NIU Hockey)

DeKALB – A well-rested and confident NIU Hockey is back from Thanksgiving break and ready to finish the semester on a positive note. 

The Huskies (1-16-2, 0-10 MCH) have a tall task ahead of them coming out of the break, with a home-and-home weekend series against No. 11 ranked Purdue University Northwest Pride (14-5, 7-4 GLCHL) on the horizon. 


The Huskies have had two of their last four weekends away from the rink, playing just five games in November after starting the season with games in seven straight weekends. 

Freshman forward Robbie Zimmerman said the difference in workload in recent weeks has made a big difference in the team’s energy for the upcoming series. 

“I think with the seven weekends in a row, we had a lot of tiredness, illness, injuries,” Zimmerman said. “With two weekends off – one of them being a weekend and one of them being Thanksgiving – I think everybody’s rested, fresh – back ready to go.” 


In its most recent weekend of games, NIU finally got in the win column after starting the season with 16 straight losses. 

Finding their first win has relieved the Huskies of the pressure that came with the 16-game losing streak.

With a win, the Huskies are going into this weekend with confidence.

“Since then, we’ve all talked and kind of agreed that getting that first win, we know what it takes to get a win and now know the full 60 minutes we need to play to keep those wins coming,” Zimmerman said. “I think that is huge to get that first one and hopefully open the floodgates.”


PNW enters the weekend riding a five-game winning streak, two of which came against No. 16 ranked Grand Valley State University and one against No. 14 Indiana Tech.  

In those five games, PNW’s offense has filled the net with 28 goals. 

Zimmerman said the key to slowing down the high-powered PNW offense is to play hard-nosed hockey in the defensive end. 

“It’s going to take some griminess,” Zimmerman said. “When their skill and goal-scoring ability comes into play, we’re going to have to get grimy and block shots – have good stick placement. And I think that, like I always say, if we play good defense, the offense will come.”


NIU and PNW kick off its home-and-home series at 7 p.m. Friday at the Kube Sports Complex in Hammond, Indiana. 

The game will be streamed on Purdue Northwest’s JedTV stream.

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