BOSTON, Mass. - Senior Joe Vitale scored twice, including the game-winner, and goaltender Brad Thiessen made 38 saves as Northeastern beat No. 1 Boston College, 4-3, before a sold-out crowd of 5,407 on Saturday night at Matthews Arena. Chris Donovan and Dennis McCauley also scored for the Huskies.
Northeastern improved to 3-0-1 overall and 2-0-0 in Hockey East after beating Providence, 4-0, on Friday night. It is the first time Northeastern has started the season with a four-game unbeaten streak since 1994-95, when the Huskies started 4-0-1. It was the first loss of the season for Boston College, which stands at 2-1-0 and 0-1-0 in Hockey East. It was the 200th meeting between the two schools and Northeastern is 4-3-1 in the last eight meetings.
A Greg Costa tripping penalty carried from the second to the third period, giving Boston College a power play with the scored tied 3-3. Vitale took a faceoff in the neutral zone and it drew back to the BC zone. Vitale chased a Boston College defenseman into the left circle, stripped the puck and scored on goaltender John Muse to make it 4-3 at 0:14 in the third. It was the fourth short-handed goal and the sixth game-winning goal of his career.
Boston College got on the board first at 7:41 in the first period. With BC on a power play, Joe Whitney took a shot from the left circle that Thiessen saved. The puck went out front, off a Northeastern player and into the open side of the net for the score.
The Huskies fired back just nine seconds after the ensuing faceoff. Ryan Ginand made a great pass from behind the net to McCauley, who was open in front. McCauley buried it top shelf to make it 1-1 at 7:50. Kyle Kraemer also got an assist on the play.
Northeastern took the lead with a five-on-three power-play goal. With Nick Petrecki and Brian Gibbons in the penalty box, the Huskies cycled the puck. Wade MacLeod passed it from the right point to David Strathman at the left. Strathman passed it to Vitale on the goal line and Vitale quickly snapped a shot off Muse's back for the score.
The Eagles were able to even the score at 2-2 before the first period was over. Ben Smith took the puck in through the left circle and shot it of an NU player and behind the net. The puck bounced out to Kyle Kucharski, who put it past Thiessen to tie the game at 19:17.
At 3:12 in the second period, Donovan gave the Huskies a lead again. With Mike Hewkin in the penalty box for cross checking and NU on the penalty kill, Dan Nycholat passed the puck behind the NU net around the boards to Costa. Costa passed it to Donovan, who took it in for a breakaway and a score.
Barry Almeida scored his first career goal for Boston College at 11:07 in the second period. He stole the puck at the Northeastern blueline and got ahead of the defense for a breakaway and shot the puck past Thiessen to make it 3-3. Vitale's second score of the game would put the Huskies on top for good.
Saturday's game was the first sellout for Northeastern hockey since Oct. 22, 2005, when Northeastern tied Boston College 1-1. It was the first advance sellout of any Northeastern Athletics event since the men's basketball team hosted Duke on Dec. 30, 1995.
Northeastern is back in action next weekend with a pair of games against Maine at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. The football team also plays Maine on Saturday in Orono.