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MHKY: Warriors Battle Through Adversity; Drop Pair of Games to Illinois State

Courtesy of Midland Athletics 

FREMONT, Neb. – Coming off a physical series on the road, Midland University hosted No. 12-ranked Illinois State University this weekend inside Sidner Ice Arena. The Warriors, who were without a handful of players for various reasons, came together and battled the Redbirds tough but ultimately fell by a single goal each night. On Friday, Illinois State escaped with a 3-2 overtime win. Saturday night, they edge the Warriors in regulation by a similar 3-2 score.

FRIDAY: Illinois State 3, Midland 2 (OT)

It was a defensive battle through two periods in the opener as neither team could find the back of the net through 40 minutes of play. In the third, the Redbirds swooped in and took the 1-0 lead as they scored on the power play just under five minutes in.

Just over two minutes later, Zach Eddington brought the Warriors back even as he scored off the power play. Logan Wotton and Jack Olson assisted on the goal, tying the game up with 12:18 on the game clock.

Another costly penalty by Midland gave ISU the man advantage just past the midway mark. They made the most of the opportunity, scoring on the five-minute power play at the 11:38 mark.

With time winding into the final five minutes, the Warriors were able to pull even once more. Tanner Mros found a hole in the defense and put the puck past the goalie off an assist from Olson with 4:10 to go in regulation.

In overtime, it took the Redbirds 38 seconds to score the game-winner. After getting stopped on their first attempt, they were able to find a sliver of space to take the opening game of the series.

Nahuel Veyan was handed the overtime loss. He gathered 28 saves while playing over an hour in goal. On the other end of the ice, the Redbirds’ goalie was able to stop 27 of the Warriors’ 29 shots on target.

SATURDAY: Illinois State 3, Midland 2

On Saturday, the defensive poise of the Warriors continued as they held the Redbirds scoreless through the first period and a half. Offensively, Logan Wotton staked Midland with a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission as he pushed the puck into the back of the net in the first four minutes. Jack Royer and Jared Wisely were credited with the assists on the goal at the 3:54 mark.

In the second, Illinois State took advantage of the power play as they evened the game up at the 11:25 mark. They would take the lead minutes later, just past the 14-minute mark. Midland allowed just one power-play goal despite being on the penalty-kill four times in the period.

As the minutes ticked off in the final period, Midland was able to get a game-tying goal from Wotton with 2:31 to go in the contest. After a collision that saw him lose a glove, he went into the neutral zone, the puck, and then skated into the attack. With literally one hand on his stick and the other fending off the defense, he found the back of the net.

Things looked to be headed to extra time for the second night in a row before a loose puck was collected in front of the net by ISU. They made the quick strike and took the lead once more with 1:29 on the game clock.

Midland had its chances in the final minute. After pulling the goalie to get the extra attacker, the Warriors won a last-second faceoff and looked to score the tying goal but it was a little late as the buzzer had sounded a mere second or two before the puck went into the net.

Nahuel Veyan picked up 35 saves in net for Midland while ISU’s goalie had 29.

Midland (5-21) will host McKendree (11-11) in their final home regular-season series next weekend. The games are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start on February 10, and a 2:00 p.m. puck drop on February 11. On Saturday, the Warriors will honor their 2023 senior class.

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