DeKALB — The Huskies were unable to hold the lead Friday in a loss to Midwest College Hockey opponent Waldorf University.
After sophomore defenseman Zach Huggins’ power-play goal late in the first period, NIU couldn’t ride the momentum to get the victory. The Warriors would go on to score four unanswered goals and ultimately earn the win, 4-1.
“We had so many chances, but we couldn’t bury [the puck],” Huggins said. “It was tough. We were actually gelling pretty well but just couldn’t bury it [and] couldn’t find the net.”
The Huskies were able to stay out of the penalty box for the most part, taking four penalties. Penalties have been an issue for NIU in the early portion of the season; however, when they were at a disadvantage Friday, the Huskie penalty kill was flawless, allowing no power-play goals.
On the flip side, Waldorf took five penalties, but NIU only took advantage once. The power play showed some positive signs of progression, NIU Head Coach Mike Rucinski said.
The Huskies fall to 1-5 on the season and 1-3 in Midwest College Hockey play.
The Huskies will be without sophomore forward and alternate captain Brandon Ledyard for awhile, as he battles back from an upper-body injury sustained Wednesday during practice, according to sources. While Ledyard’s presence is missed, Huggins said he is confident the team has the depth to continue competing.
“[Ledyard’s] definitely an impact forward,” Huggins said. “So I’d say it’s big, but we have enough guys to fill in and do what needs to get done. He’s obviously a leader in the locker room and we’re missing that right now.”
NIU will have a chance to split the series, as it plays Waldorf again 7 p.m. Saturday at the Albert Lea City Arena in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Rucinski said there aren’t too many adjustments necessary for Saturday's game.
“I thought we played well last night,” Rucinski said. “We’re skating well [and] getting more chances. I think the key to [game two] will be another good start. Get the first goal again and hopefully not give it back right away.”