Illinois hockey ends 6-game losing streak, sweeps Indiana

*Offense shines, scores 10 points at weekend games*

Several Illini hockey players felt like the proverbial monkey had been lifted off their backs.

The Illinois hockey team snapped its season-high six-game losing streak with consecutive victories over conference rival Indiana 5-0 Friday night and 5-2 on Saturday.

The Illini outshot the Hoosiers in both games and finally produced on offense in back-to-back performances. For the first time since Nov. 11 and 12, the Illini had two consecutive games where they scored five or more goals.

Junior forward Scott Barrera had two goals and two assists Friday night. Barrera said he has been shooting the puck more in practice. The Illini also benefited from good goaltending all weekend. Senior Dan Rooney got the call for his second and third straight start and allowed just two goals on the 43 shots he saw all weekend.

“It feels great after losing six in a row, getting out of the slump and finally getting something rolling,” Rooney said. “It doesn’t really mean much, though, if we don’t come in next weekend with another couple wins.”

After trailing for much of Saturday’s game, the Illini benefited from the play of the line of forwards Austin Bostock, Sam Fatigato and Mike McBride. Their line was responsible for four of the team’s five goals Saturday in the first time the three played on the ice at the same time.

Bostock went for two goals and two assists on Saturday night. He credited McBride for helping and inspiring him off the ice.

“He’s the reason I could be so successful this weekend and the whole team is so successful,” Bostock said. “On the bench, he’s always keeping me going. If I have a bad play, he’s always telling me keep my chin up, and he’s just a real mentor on the team. I’m thankful I can play on a line with him and be on the same team with him.”

Senior defenseman Chris Peter said the mood of the locker room was a lot better than it had been the weeks before.

“We were playing desperate,” Peter said. “It’s good to come out with a couple wins. We tried to keep it real relaxed. As much as we were in a sense of urgency for a victory, we just tried to keep it simple, stay upbeat, and it kept everyone a lot more relaxed on the ice.”

The Illini gained 12 points in the CSCHL standings from the weekend, putting them well ahead of Indiana and only two points behind Robert Morris, which they play this upcoming weekend.