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Power Play Propels Northeastern Victory Over Holy Cross

Northeastern's power play was tremendous in Saturday's triumph over Holy Cross.

Evan Sporer

Boston, Mass. - Through the early part of Northeastern's season, head coach Jim Madigan has stressed the importance of his team not putting itself in shorthanded situations.

Of course, Madigan is fine when it's his team with the man-advantage.

The power play was the difference Saturday night, as three Husky goals with an extra skater led Northeastern past Holy Cross 5-2.

"We're moving the puck pretty well," said Huskies head coach Jim Madigan after the game. "Our forwards were moving, they weren't stationary, and that's a key."

The victory kept Northeastern perfect, as the Huskies moved to 4-0 for the first time since the 1993-1994 season. Through its first four games, the Northeastern power play is 8-25.

"I'm really pleased with the way our kids performed over the weekend," said Madigan, whose Northeastern squad defeated Holy Cross for the second time in as many nights. "For six periods of hockey, I think we had one tough period, and that was the third period last night where we got a little undisciplined."

It was the Huskies top unit that produced all three power play goals, anchored by Kevin Roy, but getting contributions from its other members Mike Szmatula, John Stevens, Braden Pimm, and Zach Aston-Reese.

"If you look at both units, particularly maybe the first unit, there's a lot of skill out there, and a lot of hockey sense," said Madigan. "We have set plays, but guys are moving, and when you have intelligent players, which we have, they create openings for themselves, because you can't dictate a certain play; the game is just too fluid."

The first goal of the night came from Roy, who's now recorded a point in each of Northeastern's first four games, and a goal in three of four. A faceoff win from Stevens went to Aston-Reese, who quickly shuffled the puck to Roy who found the back of the net only four seconds into the power play.

The assist was the first of three on the night for Aston-Reese.

"Aston-Reese is a prototypical two-way forward who gets goals and plays defense," said Madigan.

The Huskies next power play goal was scored by Stevens. After zipping the puck around the Crusaders' zone, Stevens was able to shuffle home Northeastern's fourth goal on the backhand from a bad angle.

"I'm not really worried about our offense," Madigan said, whose team has scored 20 goals in its first four games. "We have enough guys who can score or get goals; we have a lot of skill in the lineup."

In the end, it was Holy Cross' inability to play 5-on-5 hockey that was its undoing.

"One of our game goals is always to have less penalties than the other team, and obviously we did not do that tonight," said the Crusaders head coach Paul Pearl. "They obviously have some very skilled players on their team, so you don't want to have four guys on the ice when they have five.

"That's usually a bad thing."