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BOSTON, Mass. - In front of a sold-out Matthews Arena crowd, the No. 20 Huskies put on a powerplay extravaganza and used three-extra man goals to propel Northeastern to a 3-2 victory against Bentley University in the home opener.
In the victory, it was the first points of the season for all six Huskies who found their way onto the score sheet.
Freshman Jake Newton registered his first-career multi-point performance by taking advantage of the power play for the game-winner and assisted on junior Steve Silva's first marker of the year. Silva reciprocated on Newton's tally for his first multi-point outing of the year, 10th of his career.
Junior forward Wade MacLeod, the 2008-09 points leader, returned to the scoring column with a pair of assists, marking his 15th career multi-point game.
Rookie Justin Daniels, sidelined with an injury the first two tilts, notched his first-career goal on his first-ever shot for Northeastern's first marker of the match. Senior Kyle Kraemer and sophomore Mike McLaughlin aided on the play, marking their first points of 2009-10.
"I give a tremendous amount of credit to Bentley," head coach Greg Cronin said. "We had significant time on the power play tonight, but they played us tough when it was five-on-five."
Freshman netminder Chris Rawlings strung together his second-consecutive victory by stopping 27 shots on 29 attempts. Friday's game was Rawlings third-straight start between the pipes for Northeastern.
"Rawlings was vital on the 5-on-3," Cronin said. "He did very well with the rebounds tonight. You know a goaltender is doing well when he directs where the shots are going."
Bentley attacked in the early goings of the first, but after an officials review, the goal was disallowed because of a high stick. Luckily for the Falcons, Marc Menzione officially made it 1-0 visitors after McLaughlin was sent off for interference at 8:30. A slapshot from the top of the right circle 21 seconds later gave Bentley the early edge.
Following a couple offensive exchanges, Northeastern took the draw in Bentley's zone a man up and reaped the benefits. The Huskies won the face-off and as the puck was lying untouched, Kraemer nudged the disc over to (Justin) Daniels. Daniels wasted no time and released a quick snapshot that Falcons' goaltender Kyle Rank didn't even see. Daniels' equalizer came at 11:10.
Newton put away what proved to be the game-winner at 6:09 of the second session. Micah Williams was whistled for offensive interference at 4:15. After Silva cycled the puck down to MacLeod behind the net, Newton appeared in the slot and was delivered a perfect pass to be one-timed past Rank for the 2-1 lead.
The Huskies were bestowed with a 5-on-3 situation with about five minutes remaining in the second. Bentley staved off the first offense, but Silva stymied Rank with a fantastic follow-up off of Newton's initial shot. Silva had a sight line to the back of the net and converted for the 3-1 advantage at 14:49.
Bentley sent one home with an extra attacker with 16 seconds remaining in the game to inch within one, 3-2, but Northeastern held on for the victory in front of the Husky faithful.
Along with the fiery play of the freshmen class, fourth-year blueliner David Strathman celebrated his 100th-career game wearing a Northeastern sweater in the triumph.
With tonight's contest being the first regular season game after all of the renovations to Matthews Arena, the Northeastern student body set a record attendance of 2,724. The home opener's total attendance was 4,666.
The Huskies initiate Hockey East play when they travel to Durham, N.H. to take on the University of New Hampshire on Friday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. Friday's contest is also Northeastern's first televised game. Fans can tune in to the action at the Whittemore Center on NESN.