BOSTON -- What did Jim Madigan need to do to spark his team to a 4-2 win over St. Lawrence on Saturday following a lackluster performance through two periods on Friday? Apparently it was just to insert Kevin and Derick Roy into the lineup.
Kevin Roy had a power play goal and assist and added an empty net goal while brother Derick stopped 22 of 23 shots for his first victory of the season. Roy, who was 0-5-1 during a stretch where the entire Huskies team failed to live up to preseason expectations, got the nod over usual starter Clay Witt due to the team's run of five games in nine days.
"I thought Derick Roy was very good tonight. He played with a lot of poise, composure and confidence. It was great for him to get his first win. It was great for our team because they supported him and rallied around him. He gave us a few good saves when we needed it," said Madigan.
"It's awesome. I'm really happy for him. He's been working really hard," concurred Kevin Roy about his brother finally getting a nod between the pipes.
Northeastern fell behind 1-0 after 20 minutes on a goal by St. Lawrence defenseman Matt Purmal. The goal, with 5:18 to play in the opening period, came after a very strong shift by the Saints' top line. SLU had the Huskies on their heels in the NU zone as the Saints relentlessly cycled the puck.
Roy scored the first of two Huskies power play goals in the second period at the 6:03 mark. Matt Benning started the breakout, heading the puck to Mike McMurtry who slid it over to Roy. Once he had the puck on his stick he dazzled with some nifty stick work. As Roy reached the slot he got knocked over, but as he was falling to the ice, he got enough wood on the puck to get it past St. Lawrence goaltender Kyle Hayton.
"We had a good entry on the power play. Mike McMurtry did a nice play. He dragged two guys. I had a lot of space. I just tried to get it on net. I got pushed a little bit. I was able to get it through somehow," said Roy.
Dalen Hedges gave the Huskies their first lead of the weekend with 4:34 to play in the second. With the Huskies moving the puck around in their offensive zone Roy got the puck to Mike Szmatula who zipped it to Hedges in the slot. He quickly corralled the puck and sent a laser over the outstretched glove of Hayton.
The Huskies were 0-for-7 on the man advantage Friday night, but connected twice Saturday and were a post away from making it three power play tallies. Much of that credit can go to Roy and his ability to create space and allow his teammates to have more time based on defenses honing in on him.
"He's highly skilled. He's smart, he can shoot it and he can pass it. When you get that combination of those three and teams are focusing in on him… that's a dangerous combination for the opposition," stated Madigan.
Northeastern's inability to cover the puck and pick up the trailer cost the Huskies the lead with 1:12 to play in the middle frame. Gavin Bayreuther's initial shot on the transitional play was stopped, but Gunnar Hughes swooped in and cleaned up the rebound.
With the game seemingly headed to overtime Szmatula broke the tie on a strong rush up ice. The sophomore picked up his seventh goal of the season as he barreled in at the SLU net and beat Hayton.
Roy added the empty netter to seal the victory, the Huskies' sixth in nine games. Madigan's team is 6-2-1 in its last nine after going 0-8-1 over its first nine games. Despite its recent success Northeastern is taking things one game at a time and not looking ahead to next weekend's big Hockey East series against crosstown rival Boston College. First the Huskies host another ECAC foe, Yale, on Tuesday night.
"It's obviously cliche, we're just looking at the next game. We'll get back at it tomorrow. We have a quick turnaround for a very good Yale team on Tuesday, but we do want to build confidence and momentum in nonconference to get back into the league," Madigan said.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.