NIU Hockey falls to Kent State in first game of its back to back matchup


By Matt Boecker

DeKALB — A goal on a delayed penalty at the end of the second period, and a power play goal to open the third period were enough for Kent State University in their 4-2 victory over NIU.

In the Huskies’ first game since Dec. 7, they allowed the Golden Flashes to get their first road win of the season in the first-ever meeting between the teams. 

After going down 1-0 midway through the second period, NIU responded well to the deficit. Sophomore defenseman Zach Huggins scored minutes after the Golden Flash goal. Assisting on the goal was first-year forward Alex Piotrowski.

About 10 minutes later, first-year forward Noah Carlock scored a power play goal with three minutes left in the second period, putting NIU up 2-1. This was Carlock’s second goal of the season.


NIU Head Coach Mike Rucinski said the team just kept plugging away and made the most of their scoring opportunities after trailing.

The lead didn’t last long as Kent State was able to knot the game at two goals apiece with less than a minute left in the second period when they brought an extra attacker out on a delayed penalty. 

To open the third period, the Golden Flashes scored a power play goal on the same NIU penalty that ended the second period. Kent State was able to control the puck and limit Huskie scoring chances for the remainder of the period. 

“We were kind of bottled up, the puck didn’t really bounce our way there in the third period,” Rucinski said. “The shots got blocked or deflected wide. We just ran into some bad puck luck.” 

Late in the game, Kent State would score again while NIU had an extra attacker on the ice and an empty net.

The loss moves NIU to 3-13 on the season.

The Huskies will have a chance to redeem themselves 4:50 p.m. Saturday at Canlan Ice Sports in West Dundee when these two teams meet again.

Despite the loss, Rucinski is hopeful the Huskies can draw from their strong effort on Friday and carry it into Saturday.