Illinois hockey wins in first round of ACHA tournament

Despite scoring three goals in the first period and going on to beat John Carroll University 4-1 in the first round of the ACHA tournament, Illinois head coach Nick Fabbrini didn’t think the Illini played well.

“We played well for spurts, but for whatever reason, tonight wasn’t one of our best games,” Fabbrini said. “We were able to get through it and in the tournament that’s all you really care about.”

One of the Illini’s greatest spurts happened during the first period when they scored three goals. All three goals were scored within a 1:29 of each other. Center John Olen started the scoring frenzy for the Illini. 

Fabbrini said Illinois got pucks to the net, which resulted in rebounds and deflections finding the back of the net.

However, after the first period, the Illini were held scoreless until the halfway mark of the third period after John Carroll cut the lead 3-1.

The Illini had 37 shots on net and received scoring contributions from Jack Soneson, Jacob Matysiak and Eric Saulters, along with Olen. Goaltender Joe Olen made 28 saves in net.

The Illini’s second round matchup will be Friday night against CSCHL conference opponent Robert Morris. Fabbrini said Illinois will need to minimize its mistakes if it wants to come away victorious.

“We made a lot of mistakes tonight, but John Carroll fortunately was not able to capitalize on, but I don’t think we will be so luckytomorrow,” Fabbrini said. “We need more energy to the rink than we brought tonight.” 

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@MattGertsmeier.