Wheaton and SIU-E played a very close game that was hard fought on both sides, but the Cougars ultimately came away with a 2-0 victory, putting a bitter note on the Thunder’s senior night and final game of the season. Both goalies had stellar performances: Wheaton goalie Ted Townsend had 33 saves on 35 shots against, and Cougar Goalie Chandler Johnsen had 22 saves to secure the shut out. During the first intermission, Wheaton had a ceremony to honor the seven members of the team that will graduate and move on to the professional world. Danny Puknaitis, Jack Nussbaum, Anders Erikson, Austin Alianiello, David Clark, alternate captains Phil Rodriguez, Matt Bowman, and captain Isaac Melin were important members to the Wheaton College hockey team this year as well as years past, and will be sorely missed as the Thunder go into next season.
The Thunder dropped the first of two home games against SIU-E by a final score of 3-1. Wheaton started out a little sluggish, but got their feet under them about halfway through the first period, and were fortunate to head into the locker room down only 1-0, thanks to a solid period from Goalie Ted Townsend. The Wheaton offense ramped it up after the first period, generating 15 shots in the second and 19 in the third, but a solid performance by the Cougars’ goaltender, Ryan Bruce, was able to hold the Thunder to a lone goal, which came with less than two minutes to play. The power play, which had been a strength for Wheaton over the last few games, was flat tonight, and Bruce’s performance shut down the power play tonight, as the Thunder went 0-7 with the man advantage. With tonight’s loss Wheaton is effectively eliminated from the playoffs, but will look to finish the season out strong with their last game of the season tomorrow night, again skating against the Cougars. The game will be at Center Ice of DuPage, and puck drop will take place at 9:20 PM, with a ceremony to honor all of the graduating students on this year’s roster. Come cheer the Wheaton College hockey team on one more time, and help send the seniors out on a high note.
Wheaton plays two home games against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville this weekend. The first takes place tonight at 8:40, with a free fan skate to follow. The second will take place tomorrow evening at 9:20, with a ceremony to honor the graduating seniors to occur as well. Both games are at the Center Ice of DuPage. Wheaton and SIU-E are tied in points on the season, with SIU-E holding the tiebreaker for the final playoff spot in the conference. The Thunder will look to have a weekend sweep to cap off the regular season in strong fashion, and take possession of the final playoff spot in the closing pair of games.
Wheaton played Robert Morris University for the second straight night at the Edge II Ice Arena. Though the Thunder fought hard all game, they struggled with early period problems. Wheaton found themselves on the short end of a 7-3 final score, with 5 of those 7 RMU goals coming within the first 5 and a half minutes of either the first or the second period. Special teams also hurt Wheaton tonight, as the power play was 0-2 and the penalty kill went 0-1. Wheaton had a bit of a short bench tonight due to injury, but their depth players stepped up and filled in for those who were out, as everyone on the visitor’s bench played with their hearts’ on their sleeves. The Thunder will be back home next week for their final two games of the season against SIU-E. There will be a free fan skate following Friday night’s game, and Wheaton will hold a ceremony before Saturday evening’s competition to honor the graduating seniors. Come support the Thunder next weekend, Friday night at 8:40 and Saturday night at 9:20, and give the seniors one last home-ice advantage as the team looks to end the season on a high note.