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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Marauders spoil end of Hockey’s semester

Colwell nets first collegiate goal in loss to UMary
Courtesy NIU Hockey
Sophomore forward Tommy Colwell shoots the puck during warmups before NIU Hockey’s game against Arizona State on Nov. 19. The Huskies dropped their final game by a final score of 5-1 on Saturday. (Courtesy of NIU Hockey)

WEST DUNDEE – A night that started with celebration ended with familiar disappointment for NIU Hockey (1-20-2, 0-12 MCH), who fell to No. 6 ranked University of Mary (14-4, 10-1 MCH) in the final game before winter break by a final score of 5-1. 

The Huskies head into break with just one win under their belt and having lost six straight games. 

New head coach Mychal Bangs was happy with his team’s progress in his first weekend despite the loss. 

“Much better. I thought we competed,” Bangs said. “Defensively, we played a little bit better. I thought we got to the net a little bit better, which was an improvement over yesterday (Friday).”


One night after freshman forward Walker Smith scored his first collegiate goal, sophomore forward Tommy Colwell finally netted his first goal after a year and a half on the team. 

“It’s a huge monkey off the back,” Colwell said. “I’ve been waiting a year and a half – no points. Getting my first point and first goal in one against the number (six) team – it’s an unreal feeling.” 

When Colwell scored, the teammates on the ice, the NIU bench and the crowd simultaneously went into a frenzy, understanding how long Colwell had worked to earn the moment. 

“It was great. I know I belong here,” Colwell said. “They’re all my friends, they’re all my family. It just feels great,” Colwell said. “When I scored that, it didn’t even feel real. I looked right at my roommate (freshman defenseman Ethan) Koval who gave me the pass.”

As everyone on NIU’s bench went ballistic for Colwell’s long-awaited tally, the moment was a defining example of how the team comes together for each other every game. 

“It shows that everybody has their role, but anything can happen in the game and everybody has to just want to score and want the puck, and it shows right there,” said freshman defenseman Jim Franklin. “It doesn’t matter how much or little you play, you can always tap one in and get the boys going.” 

Colwell received the game puck from his teammates after the game to commemorate his long-awaited first goal. 


The Huskie offense had six chances on the man advantage on Saturday, but were unable to convert on any of the opportunities, even conceding a short-handed goal off the stick of UMary senior forward Seth Cushing. 

Franklin pointed to the team still needing to get used to the new power play system Bangs is implementing. 

“Everybody’s still trying to figure out where everybody is on the ice,” Franklin said. “We still got to work on it a little bit more in practice.”

Trying to get his team up to speed with his new system, Bangs said simplicity is their best friend. 

“We were moving the puck too much in the defensive zone and the neutral zone,” Bangs said. “We need to use speed, we need to skate more through the neutral zone.” 

The Huskie power play went just 1/10 on the weekend, the lone goal being Smith’s on Friday. 


NIU has just under a month to prepare for the spring semester, which begins Jan. 5 against Roosevelt University.

Colwell said the break provides a perfect opportunity to help their new coach, ineligible players and potential transfers to acclimate for the stretch run of the season. 

“I feel like this break, especially getting a bunch of practices, getting used to each other and we’re getting a bunch of guys back – bunch of new recruits,” Colwell said. “So, hopefully we’re going to make a big push come second semester and hopefully get into playoffs.”

The Huskies are off for the month-long winter break and will return to action at Roosevelt in Bensenville.

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