Northeastern Shuts Out Merrimack, 3-0

Joe Vitale scored a goal and an assist

Boston, Mass. - Northeastern topped Merrimack, 3-0, on Saturday night at Matthews Arena to split a weekend series with the Warriors. Defenseman David Strathman scored the eventual game-winner in the first period and Tyler McNeely and Joe Vitale each added a power-play goal. Goalie Brad Thiessen posted his first shutout of the season with 22 saves.

Northeastern improved to 11-5-2 overall and 8-4-1 in Hockey East while Merrimack dropped to 8-10-2 overall and 4-10-1 in Hockey East.

Northeastern got on the board first for the fourth game in a row when Strathman scored at 6:13 in the first period. Jimmy Russo got the puck to Chad Costello and Costello passed the puck from the right side boards to Strathman on the left side of the crease. Strathman backhanded it high past Merrimack goalie Andrew Braithwaite for his first goal of the season.

The Huskies made it 2-0 on a five-on-three power play later in the first period. Vitale passed the puck to Steve Silva in the slot and Silva took a hard shot that McNeely tipped in front for the score at 17:38. It was McNeely's third game in a row with a goal and Silva's fourth in a row with an assist. The Huskies outshot Merrimack 12-7 in the first period.

Northeastern scored another power-play goal in the second period to make it 3-0. With Merrimack's Adam Ross in the penalty box for slashing, Silva passed the puck from the corner to Russo and Russo shot it. Vitale redirected Russo's shot for the score at 16:31 in the second period. Both Silva and Russo had two assists in the game.

Thiessen's shutout was the fifth of his career and his third career shutout against Merrimack. He had his first career shutout against Merrimack on Dec. 2, 2006 and also shutout the Warriors on Feb. 2, 2007 in a 1-0 overtime win.

After scoring first only twice in their first 14 games of the season, the Huskies have scored first in each of their last four games. Northeastern scored two power-play goals in the game, ending a six-game power-play drought.

Northeastern is on the road next weekend when the Huskies take on Vermont on Friday and Saturday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vt. Both games start at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on 890 ESPN Boston.