BOSTON - A hat trick from sophomore Kevin Roy, along with points from 14 different skaters, led the Northeastern men's ice hockey team (1-0-0) to a 9-1 victory against Alabama-Huntsville (0-1-0) on opening night at Matthews Arena.
Matt Benning (one goal, two assists), Dalen Hedges (one goal, one assist), Colton Saucerman (two assists) and Mike Szmatula (three assists) all recorded multi-point efforts in a game that saw the Huskies score four times in the first period before adding three in the second and two in the third. Junior goaltender Clay Witt got the start in goal for the Huskies, making 24 saves.
Northeastern held the upper hand in nearly every facet of the game, outshooting the Chargers 46-26 and winning 40-of-66 draws. The Huskies were also 3-of-7 on the power play while UAH went 0-of-8.
The Huskies dominated the pace of play from the opening faceoff, outshooting UAH 28-8 and pounding home four goals in less than 11 minutes, including three on the power play. NU got to work just 46 seconds into the game when Roy netted his first of the season when he controlled a faceoff win from John Stevens and ripped a shot under the crossbar from atop the slot.
Hedges didn't take long to pick up his first collegiate goal as he gave Northeastern a two-goal lead 6:07 into the game. After taking a pass from Saucerman, Hedges played catch with Zach Aston-Reese at the goal line. Aston-Reese then sent the puck back up to Hedges in the slot, who fired one through traffic and over Larose's shoulder for the score.
Alabama-Huntsville's Brandon Clowes was issued a five-minute major and a game misconduct for hitting from behind, and the Huskies took advantage of the extended power play with two tallies in 31 seconds to take a commanding 4-0 lead. The first came midway through the stanza when Saucerman fed Hedges with a pass on the right side before Hedges threaded a feed cross-ice to Benning cutting to the net. Benning quickly settled the puck before roofing a wrist shot over Larose's shoulder for his first collegiate goal.
Braden Pimm would get into the act with 8:55 to play in the period when he shoveled home a feed from Szmatula stationed on the right side. Cody Ferriero was also credited with an assist on the play.
At the other end of the ice, Witt was forced to make a few tough saves late in the frame, including five with Alabama-Huntsville on the man advantage.
NU would add three more tallies in the second period on a 12-8 shot advantage as Mike McMurtry, Adam Reid and Roy all registered goals. McMurtry put Northeastern up by five 5:31 into the frame when he banged home a loose puck in the crease after Szmatula dangled through the UAH defense to put the puck into trouble.
Reid would net his first goal of the season with 4:50 to play in the period when Roy battled for puck possession behind the net, and fed Reid with a pass as he crashed the net. Reid then snapped a shot short side, beating Larose for the score.
Roy would cap off a perfectly executed two-on-one with Szmatula with 1:49 to play in the period for a tap-in last Larose before UAH got on the board 30 seconds later as Chad Brears knocked home a rebound off a Brandon Carlson shot from the point.
Ryan Belonger continued to maintain momentum for the Huskies into the third period when he took a loose puck in the neutral zone, flew into the attacking end and wristed a shot over Larose's glove for his first goal of the season with the Huskies shorthanded.
Roy would complete the hat trick with 1:52 to play when he picked off a puck in the NU zone before going coast to coast to tuck a shot inside the right post for his third of the night.
The teams will meet again in the series finale on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Matthews Arena.
- Northeastern is now 3-0-0 all-time against Alabama-Huntsville, and moves to 47-28-7 all-time in season openers. The Huskies have now won consecutive season openers for the first time since they did it during the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons.
- Friday's win moved the Huskies to 45-31-5 all-time in home openers, and improved NU's mark in season openers at home to 28-11-3. Northeastern hasn't lost a season opener at Matthews Arena since the 1995-96 season.
- Northeastern's nine goals scored are the most goals in a season opener since Oct. 25, 1988 against Vermont (W, 9-6). It is also the first time NU has scored nine goals since Dec. 2, 2011 at Notre Dame (W, 9-2).
- Five Huskies tallied their first collegiate points on Friday night in Aston-Reese (one assist), Benning (one goal, two assists), Hedges (one goal, one assist), Stevens (one assist) and Szmatula (three assists).