Boston, Mass. - Kevin Roy burst onto the Hockey East scene last season with his goal scoring touch and nose for the net. In the Huskies first game of the 2013-2014, the sophomore picked up right where he left off.
Roy recorded a hat trick while adding on an assist, and Northeastern got contributions up-and down its lineup en route to a 9-1 win in its home opener.
"Obviously I'm pleased with the result of the game tonight," said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan in the postgame. "I thought the first period—we've been preaching in the pre season about playing fast and pursuing pucks, and I thought right of the bat we got on them."
The Huskies and Roy didn't take long to start off the scoring. Just 46 seconds into the game, Roy collected the puck off a John Stevens faceoff win, and did the rest. He spun just above the circles, and fired a bar-down wrist shot to give the Huskies their first goal of the season.
"[Stevens] won a good draw; he's really good on draws too," said Roy, who was very complimentary of his freshman line mate after the game. "I don't know, I just got it, turned around, and just got a shot off-didn't really look.
"I didn't know where it went, but it ended up pretty nice, so I'll take it."
It was all Northeastern in the first 20 minutes, with the Huskies out-shooting the Chargers 28-8. Northeastern took advantage of an undisciplined Alabama-Huntsville team, tallying three power play goals, including two on a five minute major hitting-from-behind penalty.
"We were able to roll four lines, and we took advantage of the power play and the five minute major; it got us jumpstarted that way," said Madigan.
Roy's first tally was followed by two freshmen — Dalen Hedges and Matt Benning — finding the score sheet for their first collegiate goals. Braden Pimm added NU's fourth goal of the period, and the Huskies were well on their way to an easy victory.
"You can look at our roster, and we better get some contributions from our freshmen, because we have a lot of freshmen on our roster," said Madigan, who's team played seven freshmen on Friday night. "But more importantly, we have freshmen who we believe in, and who are good players, who are going to contribute to us winning."
Benning, who came to Northeastern from the USHL and Dubuque, had an impressive first game, registering three points with a goal and two assists, and manning the point on the second power play unit.
"I think for all of us it's about confidence, especially for me on the power play," said Benning. "The power play is a huge part of the game.
"Our power play was pretty good today."
His physicality also stood out, as he was able to move bodies near the crease, and wasn't afraid to mix it up in front.
"They come hard. They're stronger and they're bigger, so that's one thing I think all of us freshmen have to get used to," said Benning. "But I thought we all did a really good job today."
The leader though for the Huskies was Roy. The sophomore found the net a second time on a pretty pass-play between Mike Szmatula. After beating a defender in the neutral zone, the pair entered the blue line in a 2-on-1, and a Szamtula saucer pass over a sliding defenseman led to Roy's easiest goal of the game, a tap-in.
"You always want that first one as soon as you can, and that early is always good," said Roy, who scored on his very first shot of the season, and on three of the five he took. "It gets you going a little bit."
For his third goal of the night, Roy stole the puck at his own blue line and went the distance. With only the goalie to beat, Roy jumped to the inside but left one hand on the stick on the outside to slide it past the sprawled out Chargers goalie.
"It was just a plus," Roy said of his hat trick. "We came out strong today, and we had a good team win.
"We want to get the systems down and everything, and at the end, it was just a plus."
Northeastern and Alabama-Huntsville play again tomorrow night, again at Matthews Arena.