Hockey sides split games in local action

By James Cantagallo

The Div. II and Div. III hockey teams both won a game over the weekend.

The Div. II team split its weekend series against the University of Iowa (5-8-1) at home.

The Huskies (10-8-2) fell 4-3 in overtime Friday night, but bounced back to beat the Hawkeyes 5-3 Saturday night.

“It was obviously disappointing on Friday,” said team captain Nick Remley. “We didn’t really play well on Friday; they outworked us…. We definitely played a much better game on Saturday, moving our feet and working harder than them, and that’s what you need to do in order to win games.”

Head coach Chuck Rinaldo was happy with the way NIU rebounded after the tough loss Friday.

“We kept it simple, worked hard and made sure we were always the hardest working team on the ice,” Rinaldo said. “We didn’t look for the perfect shot. We were fine scoring ugly goals bouncing off skates, whatever we needed to do. We had a full team effort and everyone did what they needed to do.”

The upcoming break will allow the Huskies to rest and make changes to their game plan.

“Basically, it will be a good week off overall,” Rinaldo said. “We just need to get back healthy, so it will be a nice week off to rest. There are going to be a few changes in lines, mix some things up, so we just have to get guys ready to go on the team aspect, on just some of the basic X’s and O’s, make sure we are all on the same page and keeping things simple.”

The Div. III team snapped its six-game losing streak against Wheaton College (1-9).

The Huskies (2-14-1) scored a season-high eight goals in their 8-6 win Friday night, but they followed that with a tough 5-2 loss on Saturday.

“Overall I think it was a good weekend,” said head coach Nick Madonia. “Obviously, any time you can get a win with 12 players it’s a victory. Saturday, we basically played with 10 people and we had a lead in the third period, but everyone was out of gas and things just slowed down.”

Team captain JC Weems was happy with the win Friday, but he felt the team missed an opportunity for another victory Saturday.

“[It was a] disappointing loss on Saturday,” Weems said. “That was hard to swallow. We really should have beat that team both games, but I guess that is why you play the game…. The third period we tried to protect the lead instead of just playing hockey.”

While Saturday’s loss was difficult to take, a positive NIU can take away from the weekend is the play of freshman goaltender JoJo Durrbeck. Durrbeck has played well with the shortened roster.

“JoJo Durrbeck had another great weekend,” Madonia said. “He has been one of the few consistent things that our team has had going for it all season; he has been great this season. “He saw 50 shots both nights, so again he had a 90 save percentage on the weekend.”