Hockey falls again to Western Michigan, lose 3-0

First-year forward Nick Gonzalez seconds before opening the score Friday in a 3-2 loss against Western Michigan University at the Canlan Ice Center in West Dundee.

DeKALB — In their inaugural division one games this weekend, the Huskies lost twice against Western Michigan University at the Canlan Ice Center in West Dundee.

Game two Saturday saw the Stallions hold the Huskies scoreless, as NIU lost 3-0.

After losing to the Stallions 3-2 Friday, the Huskies had a chance to avenge their loss. However, they couldn’t find the back of the net, despite seven power-play opportunities.

“We’re still getting to know each other as far as the power-play units are concerned,” Head Coach Mike Rucinski said. “We have a lot of new faces trying to gel, and it’s just taking time.”

The Huskies did a good job of staying out of the penalty box through two periods, taking only two penalties.

However, three penalties in the third period hurt the team’s chances at a comeback, as NIU was already down 2-0.

Rucinski said frustration got the best of his team in the third period. “They bottled us up pretty well, and some of our guys took retaliatory penalties,” Rucinski said.

The Stallions scored their third goal of the game in the third period after offsetting penalties made it four-on-four hockey. This would put the game out of reach, and move the Huskies record to 0-2 on the season.

NIU will be back on the ice 7:50 p.m. Friday and 4:50 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Midland University at Canlan Ice Center in West Dundee. This will be the Huskies’ first taste of conference play in the newly formed Midwest College Hockey division.

Rucinski said he is confident his team will continue to grind and gain chemistry as the season progresses.

“It’s going to be baby-steps, but we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Rucinski said. We have a good group of kids that I know are going to continue to work hard and get better.”

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