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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Hockey falls to Purdue Northwest, drop 4th straight

Dominant second period helps Pride bite Huskies
Courtesy NIU Hockey
Freshman defenseman Ethan Koval handles the puck in the defensive zone in NIU Hockey’s game against Arizona State on Nov. 19. The Huskies fell to Purdue University Northwest by a final score of 6-1 on Saturday. (Courtesy of NIU Hockey)

WEST DUNDEE – Start the game strong, come out flat in the second period, take penalties, turn the puck over and collapse into a blowout loss. 

That formula persisted for NIU Hockey (1-18-2, 0-10 MCH) on Saturday, as it fell to the No. 11 ranked Purdue University Northwest Pride (16-6, 7-4 GLCHL) by a final score of 6-1. 

The loss was NIU’s fourth straight, while the Pride extended their winning streak to seven. 

“The day we play a 60-minute game is the day we beat anyone we’re playing. I don’t care who it is,” assistant coach Jeremy Bower said. “We didn’t play a full 60 today, and so we didn’t win. Give it to Purdue Northwest, they’re not a bad hockey team by any stretch of the imagination.” 


After going down 4-0 early in Friday’s game against PNW, the Huskies came out of the gate strong, taking a 1-0 lead just over four minutes in thanks to a goal from junior forward Jason Kliment. 

After Saturday’s embarrassing defeat, Bower said the team held a pre-game meeting that contributed to the strong first period. 

“(Assistant) coach (Zac) Bishop called the meeting and talked to the players,” Bower said. “It was a lot of open communication and guys talking about their roles and stuff like that. It was a good bonding situation. I think that really helped us start.”

Freshman defenseman Ethan Koval said the pre-game meeting not only helped with the stronger start to the game but gave the team a stronger sense of individual roles needed for success. 

“It helped a lot of guys realize what their jobs are on the team,” Koval said. “Just what we can do as a whole to be better and try and piece more games together.”

The Huskies trailed 2-1 after 20 minutes, but held a 12-11 shot advantage. 


The usual second-period demons returned for the Huskies, as they took six penalties and allowed PNW to balloon its lead to 5-1 in the frame. 

Second period struggles are nothing new to the Huskies. After escaping the first period of both games tied, NIU allowed two goals against the University of Rhode Island in the second period on Nov. 18 and three second-period tallies against Arizona State University on Nov. 19.

Koval said flipping the same old script of second-period struggles falls only on them. 

“It all really just starts from taking a good look in the mirror,” Koval said. “Realizing if you’re part of that problem, what you can do to help yourself. Kind of stay out of the heat of the game and not let it tie you in and take you down.”

Junior defenseman Keaton Peters said rectifying the issue extends to all aspects of the team, not just during games. 

“It starts in practice and the mentality going into the game,” Peters said. “You just have to have the will and the hard-working mentality to be able to shut that down and just maintain in that second period.”

NIU was outshot 29-5 in the second period.


The Huskies have one series remaining before winter break – a two-game home series against the No. 5 ranked University of Mary Marauders, who defeated No. 4 University of Jamestown Saturday. 

“It’s a good opportunity to do something that nobody believes can happen in our league,” Peters said. “Go in and beat a top-10 team, and they’re coming here. So, we got to come prepared.”

The Huskies open their series with the Marauders at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Canlan Ice Sports in West Dundee. 

The game will be streamed on the NIU Hockey YouTube channel

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