BOSTON —Northeastern University might enter the 2015-16 season with six of its top seven scorers intact from a year ago, but it was a troop of freshmen that stood out in the Huskies' 10-2 exhibition win over Simon Fraser University.
Seven of the Huskies' 10 tallies Sunday evening at Matthews Arena came off the stick of a first-year skater, with forward Jason Cotton paving the way with a hat trick in the third period.
In total, five freshmen lit the lamp for the Huskies, with Canucks prospect Adam Gaudette compiling two points on the night — scoring just 1:32 into the third before later tossing the primary helper in Cotton's final goal.
"There's some skill with that group, but they also played hard," said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. "I think [forward] Lincoln Griffin did a real good job down low in the corners and so did Cotton."
Madigan added: "I thought our older kids paved the way for our younger kids. I thought [junior forward] Brendan Collier did a great job with Cotton and Griffin."
Collier, a former player at Boston University, centered both Cotton and Griffin on the fourth line, dishing out a pair of assists in what amounted to a six-goal third for Northeastern.
Griffin acknowledged that it was reassuring to have a veteran presence out on the ice, both before and during the tilt.
"It was a lot of fun," he said. "I was a little nervous at first. ... All the vets on the team kind of calmed me down and everything worked out great."
It didn't take long for Northeastern's rookies to get on the board. Just 30 seconds after senior captain Kevin Roy opened the scoring for the Huskies in the first, freshman Patrick Schule potted his own goal, forcing the pack past SFU goalie Lyndon Stanwood at 2:48.
The remaining slew of freshman would break through in the third, with Gaudette leading the offensive barrage with a score off of a two-on-one with junior forward Zach Aston-Reese, while Cotton notched his first goal just over two minutes later.
Griffin made it a 7-1 game for the Huskies at 8:30 in the third, sneaking the puck through Stanwood's five-hole after receiving a crisp pass from Roy in the slot.
Three more freshman goals marked the waning moments of the contest, as blue liner Eric Williams beat Stanwood with a rocket one timer at 16:57, while Cotton completed his hat trick to seal the win.
While the lopsided scoreboard punctuated a strong showing from Northeastern's youngest class, Madigan acknowledged that some of his top performers from Sunday's exhibition might be on the outside looking in of the lineup once the regular season gets underway.
"There's going to be some kids who unfortunately won't be able to play who are good players," Madigan said. "That's the nice thing about depth. When you have depth, it creates some good competition. The bad thing about depth is that there's going to be one, two or three good guys who aren't going to play, both up front and on the back end."
There's still a lot of hockey yet to be played this season, but Griffin noted that his class' impressive string of goals served as a positive first impression.
"I say the sky is the limit for us," Griffin said. "We had a good outing. It wasn't the first game, it's just an exhibition game, so I guess we'll see next week and see if we can keep it going."