The Panthers hoped for a better turnout in their first action on the ice since being swept by Missouri State in early December. Unfortunately for Eastern they met an Illinois State team that is on a roll in the MACHA gold division, ranked fifth overall.
In Friday’s game the RedBirds (19-4-1) were able to take advantage of a beaten up Panther defense while ISU goalie Scott Czarnik stopped all 12 Panther shots on goal, notching his second shut-out of the season as the RedBirds won 12-0 in Kankakee.
Saturday’s contest ended with another L in Eastern’s loss column, but the game was much different than Friday’s 12-0 blowout. The Panthers played much better team defense and were able to effectively fill the gaps left by injured and suspended veteran defenders Brad Bartosz and Jack McDonnell.
The bright spot for the Panthers this weekend and going forward was the magnificent play of goalie Andrew Teske in Saturday’s game. With a thin defense in front of him, Teske was able to save 50 of the 55 shots Illinois State fired his way. His play between the pipes for EIU will ultimately decide how the Panthers fare going forward in this last portion of their season.
Ryan Newton scored the lone goal of the weekend for Eastern on a 2nd period breakaway, assisted by Tim Shannon and Conner Cox in Saturday’s 5-1 loss in Springfield.
The Panthers (8-9-3) look to halt their four game skid as they hit the road this weekend to play a two-game set against the University of Iowa.