ORONO, Maine — In the consolation game of the Black Bear Classic at Alfond Arena on Saturday, the U.S. Developmental Team used a pair of shorthanded goals and a four-point night by Rob Flynn to crush Holy Cross, 9-2.
“Playing Maine last night prepared us very well for this game,” said U.S. coach Mike Eaves. “We came in to this game confident and getting out of the gate early helped us as well.”
The U.S. jumped took the lead on a strange play at the 7:59 mark of the first.
With the Crusaders on the power play, Holy Cross goaltender Rick Massey skated toward the left-wing boards to collect a clearing attempt. Massey was forced to hurry due to an aggressive forecheck by U.S. forward Ryan Murphy. Massey fell and Murphy centered the puck off Crusader defenseman R.J. Irving’s skate and into the empty net.
U.S. defenseman Matt Gens notched his first of two goals on the night eight minutes later for a 2-0 lead.
Holy Cross cut the lead in half when Tim Coskren one-timed a Glen Crane centering pass at 16:43 of the first.
However, the U.S. scored four unanswered goals in the second period to put the game away.
The flurry was initiated one minute into the period, when U.S. forward Justin Maiser picked up a loose puck with Holy Cross on the power play and scored unassisted.
Seven minutes later the U.S. got a pair of goals 10 seconds apart by Brady Leisenring and Lee Faldareau, increasing the lead to 5-1. Late in the period, Gens added his second of the evening to all but put the game away.
“We worked very hard on the forecheck tonight,” said Eaves. “We were able to create a lot of transition chances because of that and we made the most of them.”
Crusader forward Brian Akashian scored early in the third, but the U.S. answered with three goals in two minutes to slam the door shut.
Jesse Lane scored on the power play at 5:10, Eric Nystrom netted his fourth of the season a minute later and Rob Flynn scored, adding a marker to his three assist on the night.
“This gives us confidence,” said Eaves. “We emphasize how important it is to play 60 minutes, especially against the college teams. It’s where these kids are heading and they need to see what is waiting for them.”
The U.S. team travels to Rochester, Minn., for a United States Hockey League game on Friday. Holy Cross opens league play on the road next weekend with games at Mercyhurst on Friday and Canisius on Saturday.