NIU men’s hockey update

By Ed Rietveld

The Division II NIU men’s hockey team (2-2) lost its opener Friday night 6-3 to Missouri State.

The Huskies got off to a slow start, falling behind 3-0. Head coach Greg Chromy said there were many factors to the slow start.

“With the pink ice and all the hoopla that goes along with it, with the long bus ride, we gave up three quick ones in the first,” Chromy said. “We had to take a timeout [and] settle everything down.”

Late in the first period, Huskies’ captain Mike Sible scored to cut the Ice Bears’ lead to 3-1. In the second period, Mark Greenberg scored to cut the lead to 3-2. Missouri State (5-3-1) scored a short-handed goal to slow down the Huskies’ momentum. Greenberg scored again to cut the lead to 4-3.

That would be as close as the Huskies would get.

Chromy said as soon as NIU got back in the game, Missouri State responded.

“Every time after we got within a goal, we gave up an easy goal to let them go back up two,” Chromy said.

NIU bounced back with a 13-7 victory over the Ice Bears Saturday. Eight different Huskies scored in the victory, led by freshmen Justin Rucinski, who had four goals. Sible had two goals and Mike Strumberger also had two goals.

Chromy credited the defense for the 13 goal outburst.

“We moved the puck well,” Chromy said. “We played defensive in the neutral zones, very tight, and that caused some turnovers, which eventually led to goals.”

Division III splits weekend Against Missouri State

NIU’s Division III men’s hockey team (3-3) won its game Friday night 8-6, over Missouri State.

It marked the Ice Bears’ (1-5) fifth consecutive loss of the season.

Brett and David Freitag each had a pair of goals in the victory. Freshman JC Weems continued his hot start with his sixth goal of the season. The Huskies had two power play goals and a short-handed goal in the win.

“It was a really fast-paced game,” said NIU head coach John Lyne. “Missouri State is a good team.”

The Huskies were unable to sweep the weekend against the Ice Bears, as they fell in their second game 9-6.

“We were back in the game a few times and just took penalties at the wrong times,” Lyne said. “[Missouri State] was able to capitalize on [them].”

Despite the loss, Lyne said a lot can be taken from the weekend split.

“I would definitely say it was a successful weekend,” Lyne said. “[Missouri State] has a young team, and to come down here and win at least one game from one of the best teams in the Central Region is definitely a plus for us.”