Hockey scoreless in weekend series


First-year forward Hunter Pierce prepares for the puck to be dropped in the Huskies Jan. 10 game against Kent State University. NIU would go on to lose the game 4-2 at Canlan Ice Sports in West Dundee.

By Matt Boecker

DeKALB — The Huskies couldn’t keep pace with the Iowa State University Cyclones, losing Friday and Saturday night.

The then 22nd ranked Cyclones dealt NIU consecutive shutouts. This was the first time this season NIU was held scoreless in back-to-back games. Through the Huskies’ first 17 games, the team had been shutout only once.

The Cyclones started hot Friday night, netting three goals in the first period.

A pair of goals in the second and third period were more than enough for the Cyclones, as they cruised to a 7-0 victory in game one.

In game two Saturday, Iowa State jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one period of play.

Three additional Iowa State goals in the second period, and one more in the third period, clinched a 6-0 game-two win and weekend sweep for the Cyclones.

Sophomore defenseman Zach Huggins said Iowa State’s experience gave their team the upper hand and made it difficult for the Huskies to light the lamp.

“We need to work on communication and being there to support each other,” Huggins said. “Having a lot more puck support all over the ice is a big thing we’ve been trying to work on. I think in the second game, we did a much better job of it. It was a lot of the little things that came together this weekend, and we just got exposed by a much more experienced team.”

The Huskies’ losing skid reaches seven games with the losses in Ames, Iowa. NIU is now 3-16 on the season.

The Huskies will pack their bags and head to Chesterfield, Missouri next weekend for a series against the Maryville University Saints, who are 9-14 on the season. The puck drops at 7:45 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday as NIU gets its first piece of Midwest College Hockey play in the second half of the season.

Huggins said how the team bounces back from the Iowa State losses will be crucial to its success against the Saints.

“Getting back in the gym this week and coming to practice ready to work and ready to be better [will be key],” Huggins said. “That’s really all we can do at this point, and I think that’s what our ultimate plan is going to be — just get focused and get ready to do whatever it takes to make sure we’re more prepared this weekend.”

Both games can be watched on the NIU Ice Hockey Facebook page.