Hockey drops two games to Waldorf

Huskies fall to 1-7 after a pair of loss over weekend

Junior+forward+Rodahn+Evans+plays+the+puck+in+an+NIU+Division+I+hockey+game.

Courtesy of NIU Hockey

Junior forward Rodahn Evans plays the puck in an NIU Division I hockey game.

Skyler Kisellus, Assistant Sports Editor

DeKALB — The NIU Division I hockey program was swept in a two-game series against Waldorf University, losing 6-3 Friday and 4-1 Saturday.

Friday: Warriors 6, Huskies 3

Waldorf scored first with a goal from junior forward Zachary Jimenez. The Huskies would respond with back-to-back goals from junior forward Rodahn Evans to take a 2-1 lead.

“We named (Evans) captain earlier in the week,” head coach Nicholas Madonia said. “We were expecting him to step up and have a good weekend. He was dangerous every time he touched the puck.”

The Warriors went on a scoring frenzy, hitting five more shots into the back of the net. The first two of these five shots were made within eleven seconds of each other.

At the end of a high-scoring first period, Waldorf held a sizable 6-2 lead. The Huskies made a switch at goaltender ahead of the second period, replacing sophomore Benjamin Vutci with freshman Grant Goodson.

“(Vutci) got a rough go in the first period,” Madonia said. “The team did not play very well in front of him. We pulled him just to try to get a little bit of energy out of the team with a new goalie.”

In the game’s second period, the lone goal of the period was made by freshman forward Midas Bacidore, who was assisted by junior defenseman Alec Porzondek and junior forward Nicolas Gonzalez.

The point from Bacidore would be the final from either side as the third period of the match went scoreless.

The lack of scoring from the Warriors during the latter two periods can be attributed to a stout performance from Goodson. The former New Jersey Titans goalie didn’t allow any of 39 attempts to get past him at the net.

“(Goodson) came in and was phenomenal,” Madonia said. “He played great and earned the start on Saturday.”

With the game’s final buzzer, the Huskies took their sixth loss of the season.

Saturday: Warriors 4, Huskies 1

The Warriors began strong with consecutive scores from sophomore forward Morgan Sweeney in a matter of 74 seconds. 

Neither team would score again until 13 minutes into the second period, when junior forward Randy Apter scored the first and only goal for the Huskies.

To close out Saturday’s bout, Waldorf tacked on two more goals to take a 4-1 lead. Sophomore defenseman Jordan Ribbink and sophomore forward Jacob Lindblom were responsible for Warriors’ final two scores.

The Huskies stuck with Goodson at goaltender for the second day of play, who saved 32 of 35 scoring attempts.

With the sweep by Waldorf, the Huskies’ 2021-2022 record fell to 1-7 overall. With the weekend series also being the first interconference competition for NIU, their Midwest College Hockey conference record now stands at 0-2.

Madonia attributes the team’s rocky start to mental struggles, citing the need to call timeouts early on and slow starts to games in general.

“After we pulled it together, we controlled the games,” said Madonia. “It’s tough to come back at this level when you’re down in a hole. We just need to be a little bit sharper from the first shot.”

The Huskies will return to action in an MCH conference matchup against the Midland University Warriors. The first game is set to begin at 7:45 p.m. Oct. 22 at Sidner Ice Arena in Fremont, Neb.