Tyler Madden.
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World Juniors 2019

Huskies breaking new ground – Madden, Primeau proud to represent Team USA

Tyler Madden knows what it feels like to pull USA Hockey’s red, white and blue over his shoulder pads.

Madden, 19, led the U.S. in scoring at the World Junior A Challenge last season with three goals and one assist in five games. Now, he has the opportunity to play a major role for Team USA at the World Junior Championship in British Columbia.

In pre-tournament games last week, Madden was lined up as the team’s first-line right wing beside center Josh Norris (Michigan) and left wing Ryan Poehling (St. Cloud State). In the opening game versus Slovakia, he factored in on the game-winning goal with an assist.

“It’s an honor,” he said. “Any time you put the Team USA sweater on, it’s unbelievable. It’s really exciting.”

Madden is having a tremendous freshman season at Northeastern where he’s second on the team with 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in 14 games. He’s a strong two-way player who has been praised for his hockey sense and speed.

“Everyone asks me about Tyler Madden,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. “There’s a good reason for that, he’s a very good player. He’s a guy who we are asking a lot of as a freshman and he has stepped up and taken on a big role for our team. He’s playing a lot of minutes and he’s out there for important minutes in the game. We feel like we can put him on the ice in any situation because he’s so smart. He does the little things very well and he also has shown that he can be explosive.”

Madden is joined on the Team USA roster by Northeastern goaltender Cayden Primeau; they represent the first two Huskies in program history to play for Team USA in the World Juniors.

Also representing Northeastern in the tournament will be associate head coach Jerry Keefe, who just inked a new five-year contract extension last month, and has played an integral role in building the Northeastern program.

“It’s going to be awesome having Keefer there as a coach,” Madden said. “Having familiar faces with those two guys will just make it that more special.”

Madden is at his greatest when he’s making plays in tight spaces; that’s where his puck skills and hockey sense are best on display.

“When I get guys on me, I make quicker plays and can see people faster,” he said after a game against Merrimack earlier this month. Merrimack is known for having one of the tightest rinks in college hockey. “I had a couple nice assists and just a little empty-netter to top it off.”

The Huskies beat Merrimack that night, 7-2. Madden led the charge.

Meanwhile, between the pipes, Primeau battles Kyle Keyser for minutes. Primeau was the backbone of a Northeastern team that won the Beanpot last season when he was a freshman, and this season he has posted a .918 save percentage and a 2.40 goals-against average. In two-plus seasons, the Huskies have gone 29-11-6 in games Primeau has started.

Both Madden and Primeau have strong bloodlines as well — they are sons of former NHL forwards Keith Primeau and John Madden.

“(Primeau) came in last season and solidified a position that we needed to be solidified,” Madigan said. “I might be biased, but I think he’s the best goalie in the country. He does so much for our team he’s such a calming influence for the rest of our guys. The biggest thing that I see is the rest of our guys can just go out and play hockey when he’s back there because he gives everyone so much confidence.”

Primeau has USA Hockey experience as well, dressing for Team USA at the 2016 Hlinka Gretzky Cup as well as the 2017 World Junior A Challenge, where he was lights out in three games, posting a .966 save percentage and a 0.75 goals-against average.

“It’s a great honor and a testament to those two players for having a great first half and doing all the right things,” Madigan said. “For the three of them, it’s an opportunity to represent their country at, I think, the best tournament going because all the best 17-20 year olds are there.”

Keefe serves on the staff under Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings and alongside David Lassonde, who is an assistant coach at Dartmouth and also has World Junior experience as an assistant on the 2013 and 2014 staffs.

“Coach Keefe is an interesting one for me because I coached Jerry (in the USHL),” Hastings said “So, it’s fun.”

“I feel blessed that I’ve surrounded people around me that understand what’s important … and I’m fortunate USA Hockey was on board with the staff we have here.”

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