Chicago Blackhawks

Lynch leads NIU to MAC championship

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Lynch leads NIU to MAC championship

DE KALB, Ill. (AP) Jordan Lynch threw for 407 yards and three touchdowns Wednesday night and Northern Illinois defeated Toledo 31-24 to claim a spot in the Mid-American Conference championship game.

Lynch also ran for 162 yards for the Huskies (10-1, 7-0), who extended the longest home winning streak in Division I to 21 games. The defending MAC champions won their 10th straight game and wrapped up the West Division title to advance to the conference championship Nov. 30 in Detroit.

Toledo (8-3, 5-2) led 14-7 at halftime, but 18 seconds into the third quarter Lynch hooked up with Martel Moore for a 74-yard touchdown pass, their second scoring connection of the game. NIU went ahead 21-14 on Lynch's 6-yard TD pass to Ashford Perez.

The Rockets trailed 31-14 but got within seven points after Jeremiah Detmer's 34-yard field goal with 5:57 left. The Huskies picked up three first downs and ran out the clock.

Moore had 153 yards receiving for NIU. Terrance Owens threw for 265 yards and ran for a score for Toledo.

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What a difference a year makes: Blackhawks sign goaltender Collin Delia

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USA TODAY

What a difference a year makes: Blackhawks sign goaltender Collin Delia

One year ago Collin Delia had just wrapped up his first Blackhawks prospect camp, hoping to improve off a sophomore season at Merrimack College where he struggled in net.

Fast forward to this summer and Delia, who responded in a major way as a junior, is now joining the professional ranks after signing a two-year deal with the Blackhawks on Friday, the team announced.

After playing well in limited ice time as a freshman, Delia became the full-time starter for the Warriors as a sophomore. But he had his growing pains in a new role, going just 8-12-6 while allowing 2.96 GAA. That number ranked 12th of 15 in the Hockey East League, and his .889 save percentage ranked dead last.

But Delia's struggles as a sophomore were non-existent as he returned to Merrimack for his junior season. He rose from the bottom to the top of the conference in save percentage (.927) and ranked third in GAA (2.15). His GAA ranked 14th in the nation and his save percentage ranked 9th nationally.

He recorded three shutouts (he had none as a sophomore), including a 33-save performance in a 2-0 road victory over Wisconsin, and was named a Hockey East Third Team All-Star.

The Blackhawks clearly noticed his improvements as a junior as he arrived last week for his second round of Blackhawks prospect camp.

Last year the Blackhawks signed Alexandre Fortin out of prospect camp. As Insider Tracey Myers wrote last week, Fortin could force his way onto the Blackhawks roster this summer.

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