At first, Bob Motzko couldn’t describe exactly what makes his team so successful on the power play. “It just works,” the St. Cloud State coach said, after the Huskies’ 5-4 victory over Minnesota State Mankato. “The power play has been awfully good, and it won the game for us.’’

After a little more thought, Motzko identified some of the traits that led to three goals on four power-play chances Saturday in the first game of the North Star College Cup. The Huskies’ creativity, precision, confidence and ability to blast shots from the point overwhelmed the Mavericks, who had not surrendered a power-play goal since Nov. 21.

Mikey Eyssimont scored twice with the man advantage, and Jimmy Murray netted the winner on a power play with 3 minutes, 19 seconds left in the game.

MSU Mankato scored first, but the Huskies (21-5-1, 12-3-1-1 NCHC) answered with two goals in a span of 1:12 and never trailed again. The Mavericks (13-9-5, 12-3-5 WCHA) tied it twice before Murray scored the winner on a backdoor play. St. Cloud State has a success rate of 30.6 percent on the power play, third-best in the nation.

“I liked the way we played in the third period,” said MSU coach Mike Hastings, whose team had killed 41 consecutive penalties before Saturday.

“But we took a penalty with five minutes left. [The Huskies] executed, and we didn’t on the penalty kill.”

RACHEL BLOUNT