Multitude of penalties plunge the Hockey team in loss to Midland

By Matt Boecker

DeKALB — Seven goals in two periods were more than enough to silence the hockey team in Friday’s 7-1 loss to Midland University at the Canlan Ice Center in West Dundee. 

The officials were fair in handing out penalties, as NIU finished with 19 and Midland with 17 penalties. NIU had five players ejected, while Midland had two. Early in the second period, some pushing after the whistle escalated into a fight between first-year forward Noah Carlock and a Midland player. Each player will serve a one-game suspension. 

Despite taking more of them, Midland was able to capitalize on NIU’s penalties, scoring three of their seven goals while on the power-play. NIU’s lone power-play goal came from first-year forward Nick Gonzalez, his second goal of the season.

Throughout the game, the Huskies were taking their frustration out during the course of play or after the whistle, and it was the reason for many of their penalties.

“We have to keep our composure,” NIU Head Coach Mike Rucinski said. “We still have trouble with that, there’s no doubt about it. Until it improves it’s going to be tough on us because these more experienced teams, teams that have been together for awhile, their special teams are polished. We’re trying different combinations but nothing is really working for us right now.”

Penalties can sink a team’s hope to win, especially against teams like Midland, who has now scored 19 goals in three games this season.

The Huskies have a chance to turn the momentum and avoid an 0-4 start, as they square off with Midland again on 4:50 p.m. Saturday at Canlan Ice Sports.

Rucinski says an emphasis will be put on disciplined play in Saturday’s game.

“We’re going to preach trying to stay out of the box, hopefully we can win the special teams battle,” Rucinski said. “When we start taking penalties and we’re shorthanded is when we start to struggle.”