A pair of goals isn’t enough to land NIU Hockey in the win column

By Matt Boecker

DeKALB — Maryville University completes the two game sweep, defeating NIU 4-2 Jan. 25 in Chesterfield, Missouri.

The Huskies’ offense showed more life compared to recent games, but it wasn’t enough to get the win over Midwest College Hockey rival Maryville. Before this game, NIU hadn’t scored in three consecutive games. 

Head Coach Mike Rucinski said the team’s focus was getting more pucks on net in game two, and the players were successful in doing so. 

The Saints broke the ice by taking a 1-0 lead in the first period. With minutes left, sophomore forward Brandon Ledyard scored a breakaway goal to knot the game at one apiece before the period ended. Rucinski said Ledyard’s goal gave the team a jolt of confidence after going so long without scoring.

Maryville had a big second period, scoring twice while preventing the Huskies from finding the back of the net. 

First-year forward Nick Gonzalez made things interesting in the third period after his power play goal cut the Saints lead to one. Assisting on the goal was first-year forwards Hunter Wahl and Austin Walny. 

As the period progressed, the Saints did a good job of controlling the puck and limiting the Huskie offense. At the end of the period, the Saints scored an empty net goal to seal the win.

With the loss, NIU falls to 3-18 and 3-7 in Midwest College Hockey conference play.

The Huskies will return home next weekend to host the Waldorf University Warriors at Canlan Ice Sports in West Dundee. The Huskies and the Warriors split their series earlier in the season on Nov. 1 and 2. Rucinski said playing a team the Huskies have previously beaten will boost their confidence in the third and fourth meetings between the teams.

The puck drops at 4:50 p.m. on Feb. 1 and 4:10 p.m. on Feb. 2. Games can be streamed on NIU Hockey’s Facebook page.