Hockey club prepared to meet Illini

Dominic Renzetti, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern hockey club is preparing for its first home series of the season against rival University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign, but the Illini have grown comfortable with the David S. Palmer Arena in Danville over the past few weeks.

The Panthers and Illini square off at 7 p.m. Friday and then again at 2 p.m. Saturday in Danville, the usual home of the Panthers. However, because of recent repairs to the Illinois Ice Arena in Champaign, the Illini have been forced to practice on the same rink the Panthers call home. come

The Illini are coming off a split weekend with Loyola, losing the first game 5-2, but winning the second 8-2. Eastern was swept by nationally ranked Missouri State in its first two games.

Sophomores Andy Isalaco and Steven Kinnison each recorded a goal for the Panthers in the series against Missouri State. Junior goalie Zach Piefer will be in net again this weekend and said he’s looking for a better showing than what the team had last week.

“We’re looking to bounce back this week and set the tone for the rest of the season,” he said. “U of I is our biggest rival so taking two games from them would be huge for our confidence moving forward.”

It’s been quite a while since the Panthers and Illini have met. Snow days and scheduling mishaps caused a number of cancelations between the two clubs last season, but senior Glenn Oskverek said the Panthers are ready for the long awaited matchup.

“We look really good coming into our two game set against U of I,” he said. “The boys are looking to come out with two W’s this weekend.”

Dominic Renzetti can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]