BOSTON, Massachusetts (Saturday, October 9, 2010) – It was a tale of two teams on Saturday night at Matthews Arena. Hot and cold, if you will. There was Boston College, the defending national champions, coming off an eight-goal outburst against Toronto last weekend and then there was Northeastern, who took one on the chin to last-place Providence. It was a hard-fought game, but the Eagles were 2-0 victors as the Huskies dropped their second straight.
Scoring was hard to come by as the teams matched each other throughout much of the game and it was two small plays that made the ultimate difference in the end for BC.
The teams each took 12 shots on goal through the first 20 minutes, but Northeastern sophomore Chris Rawlings and BC senior John Muse were up to the challenge.
Just a minute into the game, the teams were down to four-on-four and the Huskies drove hard to the net on Muse, but Tyler McNeely could not hit the back of an open net with the East Falmouth, MA native out of position. The Eagle defense was there to clear the puck on what was the best chance of the period.
The Eagles took six penalties in the second period and Muse turned away the many NU scoring chances in the frame as they had a 16-11 shots advantage. Garrett Vermeersch offered the best opportunity to score less than one minute in, found the puck in front, but could not chip it past Muse. Northeastern had a 5-on-3 power play for the final 28 seconds of the period, but the Huskies, as was the case all night long, could not take advantage of their chances.
Both teams came out firing in the third period, but Steve Qualier came down the far side and fired a shot past John Muse that hit the top crossbar to keep the game knotted 9:30 in.
However, it was the Whitney brothers that came through for the first score at 12:41 of the third as NU rookie Anthony Bitetto was sent off for interference at 11:45. Jimmy Hayes hit Joe Whitney at the point and found his brother Steve on the left post and beat Rawlings top shelf from inside the face-off circle for the 1-0 advantage.
The Eagles sealed the deal with ten seconds to go as Brian Gibbons found the corner of an empty net from the blue line, after Northeastern had gone off at 19:17 for too many men on the ice.
With the loss, a long streak ends for the Huntington Hounds. The Huskies, until Saturday, had not been shutout of the back of the net in 65 games. The last to pitch a shutout against Northeastern was Boston University’s Kieran Millan on November 16, 2008 at Agganis Arena.
In the end, both teams took 35 shots on goal. Chris Rawlings was a tough-luck loser as he made 33 saves, while Muse pitched his ninth-career shutout with 35 denials on the night.
The Huskies return to action next Friday when former ECAC rival Rensselaer invades Matthews Arena for a single non-conference bout. The Eagles are on the road at Denver for a two-game weekend set next weekend.
(Greg Cronin, Jerry York, Northeastern captain Tyler McNeely, and BC goaltender John Muse)