BOSTON, Mass. - The Northeastern men's ice hockey team (4-0-0) received goals from five different skaters, and went 3-of-7 on the power play, en route to a 5-2 victory against Holy Cross on Saturday night at Matthews Arena.
John Stevens and Mike Szmatula both notched a goal and an assist, including their first collegiate tallies, while junior Clay Witt made 27 saves in goal. Josh Manson, Braden Pimm and Kevin Roy also scored for NU, while Zach Aston-Reese contributed three assists.
Northeastern outshot the Crusaders 53-29 in the game and received eight points from rookie skaters (two goals, six assists). Holy Cross won 41-of-76 face-offs and was 1-of-5 on the man advantage.
The Huskies wasted no time in bolting out to an early lead in the first period, capitalizing on a Holy Cross interference minor to go up 1-0 just 1:29 into the contest. After Stevens won a face-off back to Aston-Reese, he fed Roy who was gearing up for a one-timer at the right side. Roy then let a rocket go from atop the face-off dot that caught the stick of a Crusader defender before sneaking by Ginn for Roy's fifth of the season.
Mike Szmatula notched his first collegiate goal near the midway mark of the period when he took an outlet pass from Nathan Ferriero and entered the zone before cutting quickly the slot to roof a shot over the left shoulder of Ginn for a 2-0 Husky lead.
Junior captain Manson got into the act for Northeastern less than three minutes later when he took a pass from Dustin Darou and wristed a shot through traffic and past Ginn for Manson's first of the season.
When NU was issued two minor penalties in a span of 41 seconds, the Crusaders converted on the two-man advantage to cut the deficit to two with 1:49 left in the frame. When Jake Bolton's initial shot from the point was blocked, Mike McNamara chased down the loose puck and hit Bolton with another pass at the blue line. Bolton then took a few strides towards goal and blasted a shot by Witt for his first goal of the season.
Holy Cross continued to build momentum into the second period, and made it a one-goal game 2:10 into the period on a goal from Sean Gustin. Logan Smith began the play by feeding Bolton with a pass at the point. Bolton then fired a low shot on goal that Gustin redirected past Witt for his first goal of the season.
Northeastern went back on the power play minutes after the Gustin tally, and that's where Stevens poked home his first collegiate goal with 15:56 left in the frame. After Pimm shoveled the puck out of the corner and onto the stick of Aston-Reese, his shot bid was halted at a Crusader defender, but Stevens was right there to knock home the loose puck to make it 4-2 Huskies.
NU took a commanding three-goal lead 4:32 into the third period when Pimm picked up his third power play goal of the season, and fourth goal in as many games. Stevens began the play by digging the puck out of the corner up to Aston-Reese at the point. Aston-Reese then fed Szmatula with a pass, and Szmatula fired it on goal where Pimm redirected it home for the score.
The Huskies will be back in action next weekend when Northeastern travels to St. Lawrence for a two-game set, beginning on Friday night at 7 p.m. from Appleton Arena.
• Northeastern is now 5-2-0 all-time against Holy Cross, and improves to 4-0-0 on the season for the first time since 1993-94.
• Stevens and Szmatula both recorded their first collegiate goals in the game, while Szmatula extended his point streak to four games (one goal, seven assists). Stevens also registered his first career multi-point game.
• Both Pimm (four goals, two assists) and Roy (five goals, four assists) extended their point streaks to four games.
• Darou had a career-high two assists in the game, recording his third career multi-point effort.
• Aston-Reese picked up his first career multi-point game with a career-high three assists.
• Ferriero logged his first collegiate point with an assist in the first period.