NORTH ANDOVER — Kyle Bigos' blinding slap shot with 13:51 left in the game sealed victory for Merrimack College, which beat Northeastern 4-1 in front of yet another sellout crowd at Lawler Arena, the seventh straight for the Warriors.
He also added an assist, being named the game's first star. But believe it or not, his biggest impact wasn't on the score sheet.
Bigos, since his arrival three seasons ago, has been Merrimack's resident general. You can't drop the mitts in college hockey, but he's the closest thing to an enforcer you'll get.
"There are obviously big limitations as to what you can do out there as an enforcer," Bigos said. "But I have God-given size, thanks to my parents, and I have to go out there and use it. If I'm not striking fear into the opponent and using my size, I'm not doing my job."
At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, it's hard not to be a game-changer, and it doesn't have to always be with the puck.
Bigos patrols the ice like a predator eyeing its prey.
If he gets the opportunity to lay a body, you better watch out.
And when a 6-5 defenseman sends a smallish, 5-9 forward crumbling to the ice, it's hard for the officials to not take notice.
With hitting to the head penalties a focus across all levels of hockey, the size discrepancy between Bigos and some of Hockey East's smaller forwards — Northeastern, for example, dressed four players under six-feet, and the Huskies are one of the tallest teams in the league — means the junior often finds himself making friends with penalty timekeepers, justified or not.
"I don't like it too much, obviously," Bigos said. "They're doing as good as they can but obviously, sometimes, it baffles me. I don't always agree, but it's a tough job."