NIU hockey remains in second place after losing to the Tigers


NIU Hockey player Brain Pounds moves the puck in a game earlier this season.

By Korey Peterson

DeKALB | With MACHA Gold division leading Illinois State University losing on Friday night, NIU had the perfect chance to climb atop the leaderboard if it could sweep a struggling Missouri team this past weekend.

The Huskies (8-6-2 overall, 5-3 MACHA Gold) will remain in second place in the division after splitting the games with the Tigers in Jefferson City, MO, a 4-2 victory on Friday and a 10-3 loss on Saturday.

The teams did not see each other last season, but Mizzou took both games from the Huskies in the 2008-2009 season.

Just like the previous weekend when NIU won on Friday night against Robert Morris University, the Huskies came out strong again. Goals by junior Mike Sible and freshman Brian Pounds put NIU up by a pair. The Tigers would score a pair of their own to tie the game before NIU junior Colin Phelan broke the tie just over five minutes into the third period with what would turn out to be the game winning goal. Pounds would add his second of the evening with Mizzou’s goalie off the ice for an extra attacker.

“That was one of our better games that we have played all year,” said Sible, who sat out Saturday’s game after taking a shot off of his skate.

The Tigers were out for revenge on Saturday as they would score seven straight goals before the Huskies put one on the board. After being credited with the win on Friday, NIU sophomore goaltender Craig Haa was lifted in the second period after he gave up five goals on 17 shots. Kenny Schatz replaced Haa and also allowed five goals on his 21 shots faced.

Junior Thomas White opened the scoring for the Tigers in the first period and would score goals in each of the next two periods to record the hat trick and put away the Huskies. NIU tallied three straight goals after being down 7-0 but would allow three straight more to lose, 10-3.

“You would think we would have had problems getting off the bus on Friday, not Saturday,” said senior Peter Alfano, who picked up points in both games. “The first period killed us. We just didn’t come prepared to play hockey on Saturday.”

Next on the schedule for NIU is the Robert Morris Showcase at the Edge Ice Arena in Chicago. The Huskies will play three different RMU teams including the RMU-Chicago team that beat NIU in overtime twice earlier this season, the RMU-Springfield team that took one game from them at the end of October, and RMU-Peoria.