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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Late surge powers Roosevelt over Hockey

Klassen buries Huskies with last-minute goal
Courtesy NIU Hockey
Sophomore forward Lucas Sturm watches his shot go into the net during NIU Hockey’s win over Roosevelt University Friday. The Huskies dropped Saturday’s game against the Lakers by a final score of 5-3. (Courtesy of NIU Hockey)

BENSENVILLE – A pass off a skate, a breakaway, a goal. That was the sequence of events that helped Roosevelt University (9-10) stun NIU Hockey (2-21-2, 0-12 MCH) with a come-from-behind 5-3 win Saturday night. 

The collapse came after NIU recovered from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the third period.

Head coach Mychal Bangs saw a lot of positives to take away from the weekend series split despite the heartbreaking finish. 

“The whole weekend was good,” Bangs said. “We learned how to fight and we learned how to compete the whole game on both games. A couple defensive letdowns during the third period, but we had a chance to win.” 


Junior defenseman Keaton Peters scored a short-handed goal to tie the game a minute into freshman forward Micah Maldonado’s four-minute penalty late in the second period. Maldonado received a five-minute penalty to put NIU down five-on-three for three minutes.

NIU’s penalty kill came up massive, killing off the entire three minutes of five-on-three and then the remaining two minutes of five-on-four to keep the game tied heading to the final frame.

“It took everybody to buy in. On five-on-three, it’s hell,” Peters said. “You have to block every shot, you have to get every puck out. But it really provided us momentum going into the third.”

Freshman forward Walker Smith, who tallied two goals in Saturday’s game, credited the penalty killing units for doing the dirty work to kill the penalties at a crucial stretch of the game. 

“Our PK has been really good recently,” Smith said. “We’re in the right lanes, blocking shots, clearing the puck. So, it’s just good execution from the team.”


Fresh off the penalty kill to start the third period, Smith gave NIU the lead with just under 15 minutes remaining in the game. 

The Huskies held off Roosevelt’s attack until just under seven minutes remaining, when a shot from sophomore forward Danny Bdzoch beat freshman goaltender Caleb Cross to tie the game.

Then with just 59 seconds remaining, an errant pass by junior defenseman Luke Marks hit a skate in the middle of the ice, with the deflection sending Roosevelt sophomore forward Noel Klassen on a breakaway. Klassen made no mistake, potting the game-winning goal.

Bangs said the two late goals were a result of the team’s defense getting complacent. 

“We gave up a couple of odd-man breaks, and that was kind of the end of it,” Bangs said. “So, for us, we’ve got to tighten up defensively and make sure that we don’t, you know, lose our focus for a couple minutes in the period.”

Despite the positive strides recently, Peters said the team still has lessons to learn.

“You just got to really bear down, focus on the little details, do the little things to win,” Peters said. “We have to correct those mistakes and come into our next games prepared so if we’re in that situation again, we’re going to know how to close it out.”


With a win and a close loss to start the spring semester, Smith sees the team trending in the right direction for the final stretch of the season. 

“The locker room is confident that we can keep going,” Smith said. “We’re hoping to pull some more wins together before the season ends and end the season on a high note.”

The team forfeit its two-game road series at the University of Mary next weekend due to travel issues. 

The Huskies next game will be at home against McKendree University at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at Canlan Ice Sports in West Dundee.

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