Hockey’s losing streak reaches five, falls to Kent State for the second time in two days

By Matt Boecker

DeKALB — NIU hockey’s losing streak reaches five games after a loss to Kent State University on Saturday night.

Despite a hot start, the Huskies were unable to keep their foot on the gas in a 4-3 loss at Canlan Ice Sports in West Dundee.

 First-year forward Alex Piotrowski lit the lamp one minute into the game to give the Huskies an early 1-0 advantage. About 20 seconds later, the Golden Flashes matched with a goal of their own. 

Not long after the Kent State goal, first-year forward Austin Walny found twine to put NIU back on top, 2-1. However, Kent State would come right back with a power-play goal of its own. After one action-packed period, the game was knotted at two goals.

Head Coach Mike Rucinski said the key to the hot start was burying scoring opportunities, something the team has struggled with this season.

The Golden Flashes would gain momentum with a goal early in the second period. Late in the frame, sophomore defenseman Alec Porzondek scored on a power-play to tie the game at three. However, the Golden Flashes would take the lead right back about one minute later with another goal.

Rucinski said the team realizes the importance of riding the momentum after scoring a goal. Despite this, the Huskies have struggled to keep their foot on the gas after finding twine.

“I can’t say we’re letting down at all,” Rucinski said. “Maybe it is just unlucky, but it’s happened way too often, so we have to try to do something different. I don’t know exactly what the answer is. It’s simple stuff we all know, but we’re just not executing. It’s frustrating.”

At the end of a scoreless third period, NIU pulled its goalie to bring on a sixth skater. This granted the Huskies some good scoring chances, but it wasn’t enough for them to find the back of the net.

NIU moves to 3-14 on the season. Despite the losses, Rucinski said he saw a lot of positives from each game, and he’s hopeful the Huskies can build on them.

The Huskies will hit the road for 7:30 p.m. games Friday and Saturday in Ames, Iowa against Iowa State University.