After a shutout loss on Friday, Illinois State put forth an impressive effort against Indiana Tech. Trouble with the offense resulted in 3-1 loss for the ‘Birds.
“The first night was full of distractions,” said head coach Mike Marquardt. “That’s not the style of hockey we play.”
“Last night helped a little bit,” said senior Vinny Carbone. “We had a little bit of a sour taste in our mouth. Getting blanked, and getting blanked that bad doesn’t feel good at all. Coming back, I think we showed a lot more character and more heart and left our egos at the door.”
The Redbirds came out of the gates strong, but Indiana Tech did as well. Both teams were stuck in a stalemate for two periods. With the exception of a few minor penalties, nothing was put on the board.
“We didn’t want to change anything, we were going back and forth we were forcing their turnovers and limiting ours,” said Marquardt. “I said let’s keep playing our game and capitalize on their turnovers. If we continue to get the puck to the net good things will happen. Unfortunately, we got a couple of penalties that took us away.”
With less than a minute left in the second period, DJ Mussey went to the box, putting ISU in a penalty kill that carried over into the third. Less than 30 seconds in, Chad Yale joined Mussey and Indiana Tech had a 5-3 advantage that led to the first goal of the game.
Illinois State continued their defensive effort, including impressive saves from senior goalie David Krienke, who had 38 saves on the night. After a shot attempt was blocked by a diving Steve Wrzala, Indiana Tech grabbed the rebound to flip it past Krienke and give them the 2-0 lead.
“Big stalemate out there today,” said Carbone. “Couldn’t get anything going, the bounces weren’t going our way, but we’ve got to get back to practice and work on our offense because that’s what was lacking.”
They did make an offensive push. With just under ten to play in the game Kostopolous got one past the Indiana Tech goalie with assists credited to Joey Bower and Clint Zumer. That would be the last goal from ISU.
With two minutes to go Krienke left the net for the extra attacker, but a defensive relapse allowed an empty netter for Indiana Tech, putting them up 3-1. ISU pulled the goalie again, but time ran out on the ‘Birds.
Despite the loss, the day was bitter sweet as the senior players were honored before the game. David Krienke, Vinny Carbone, Jeremy Gaddo, and Tyler Pope-Ferguson are a part of the graduating class.
“It’s a small group of seniors and we’ve all been really good friends since our first year here,” said Krienke. “It’s kind of bittersweet to see it all coming to an end, but I know it’s not like we are going to part ways and never see each other.
There are just six games left on the season schedule for the Redbirds.
“We still have some goals within our organization,” said head coach Mike Marquardt. “We want to continue being competitive, and now we’re going to play more of a spoiler role it looks like. We’re going to continue to take it one game at a time and focus on our game.”
Next on their list is a trip to Missouri State, but the weekend after that the ‘Birds get to take on ACHA number one ranked Lindenwood on the road. They end the season with a road trip to the University of Illinois.