Toledo win grants Rockets a sweep against Huskies in two-game weekend


First-year forward Austin Walny (left) and senior forward Brad Krauser run a puck down the ice Nov. 8 against McKendree University.

By Matt Boecker

DeKALB — The hockey team took a loss Saturday in a physical game at the Team Toledo Ice House against the University of Toledo.

After a tough 8-3 loss Friday, the Huskies dropped game two to the Rockets, 5-3. Head Coach Mike Rucinski said the effort was there both games, but the Huskies were more ready Saturday.

“I thought both games we battled hard, and we didn’t catch any puck-luck,” Rucinski said. “We didn’t get the key goal in certain situations. The games were similar.”

In the first period, Toledo came out firing, scoring a goal 19 seconds into the game. First-year forward Hunter Wahl found twine for the Huskies to knot it at a goal apiece, but the Rockets would score again before the period ended.

In the second period, sophomore forward Brandon Ledyard scored his first goal of the season to draw the Huskies within one. Toledo would respond with two goals coming from senior forward Ian Rapp. These were Rapp’s fourth and fifth goals of the series after the Rocket got a hat-trick Friday night.

In the final frame, first-year forward Austin Walny scored his third goal of the season to bring the Huskies back in striking distance. Soon after, Toledo would score on the power play to extend the lead back to two goals. Despite a strong push with a man advantage and a pulled goalie, the Huskies came up short.

Rucinski said the team had a hard time maintaining momentum. The persistent whistle blowing caused frustration, but Rucinski said he told his guys to keep their composure and keep their foot on the gas.

The loss moves NIU’s record to 3-12.

Rucinski had a simple message for his players before the lengthy off-time.

“I wished them well on finals and told them to enjoy winter break,” Rucinski said. “Recharge the batteries and come back ready to go in January.”

The Huskies won’t return to action for over a month. Their next game is 7:50 p.m. Jan. 10 in West Dundee as NIU hosts Kent State University at Canlan Ice Sports.