BOSTON, Mass. - Northeastern cruised to a 3-1 victory against UMass Lowell on Friday night at Matthews Arena, picking up its first winning streak of the season and first four-point sweep this season. Rookie netminder staffed the pipes first his first-collegiate victory, steering away 23 shots in the triumph.
Freshman Brodie Reid along with veterans Wade MacLeod and Tyler McNeely acted as the scoring culprits for the Huskies on Friday night. MacLeod and Reid extended their goal-scoring streaks to three games while McNeely added the empty-netter, marking the second-straight outing Northeastern exposed the unguarded cage.
Northeastern outshot UMass Lowel, 33-24, in the victory and displayed another disciplined game, taking only four penalties for eight minutes. UML's Marc Boulanger made 30 saves while Witt upped his record to 1-2-0 in three appearances.
Northeastern's offense controlled the offensive tempo for the first three minutes eventually leading to a Michael Budd tripping penalty occurring in NU's zone at 3:10. The Huskies took their shots, but UMass Lowell was able to penetrate into Northeastern territory a couple times to stave off the infraction.
Sophomore Steve Morra endured a hitting from behind penalty at 6:58 of the first, but no damage was done as the Huskies continued to keep the pace in their end of the ice.
The Huskies persistence paid off after freshman Anthony Bitetto bucked UML's forward in NU territory and slapped it out to Reid on the near boards. Reid kicked it over to a flanking Mike McLaughlin who proceeded to cart it down the right side of the ice and rediscover his right winger in the slot. Reid stopped the disc with his skate, gathered it, and backhanded the puck over Boulanger's glove at 18:07 of the first to draw first blood for the 1-0 edge.
UMass Lowell buttoned it back up at 2:29 of the second on a fortuitous bounce off of Patrick Cey's initial shot. David Vallorani cleared the puck out to Cey in the neutral zone as he ripped off a backhander off the top-right pipe. The puck bounced off the netting and into the crease where Riley Wetmore crashed the rebound and was able to avoid goaltender interference to tie the game, 1-1.
A parade to the penalty box ensued, starting off with Al Butler's elbowing call at 8:18 of the second. The Huskies did not convert and turned right around to bestow UML with an extra-man opportunity of its own at 10:27 after a too many men call. Derek Arnold then took a seat at 11:43 for a hold, posing a 45-second window of 4-on-4 action, but McLaughlin took a boarding whistle while sophomore Garrett Vermeersch and Colin Wright followed with unsportsmanlike calls at the same time. No scoring resulted from the slew of penalties.
Bitetto and Justin Daniels crafted the best chance for the Huskies around the 15-minute mark of the second stanza, working off each other with a beautiful give-and-go, but Boulanger hugged the post and the score a stalemate heading into the third.
Before the fans could settle into their seats, MacLeod tapped in a rebound just 18 seconds into the third period. MacLeod initially wheeled the puck into River Hawks' territory, but lost it on the near post. Freshman Luke Eibler zeroed in on the puck and broke off a backhander into McNeely's tape on the crease. The puck ricocheted over to MacLeod in the same position for the easy lay-up and one-goal advantage, 2-1.
Senior Steve Silva and UML's Ryan Blair traded scoring chances down the stretch, but it was McNeely who had the final say with the empty-net dump to solidify the 3-1 victory. Bitetto broke up the River Hawks' cycle and chucked it over to McNeely for the neutral zone dump-in at 19:41.
Northeastern stays in the confines of Matthews Arena as part of its six-game home stand and will entertain Vermont for a pair next weekend, starting on Friday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.
Game Notes - Brodie Reid and Wade MacLeod are riding three-game goal scoring streaks, matching Garrett Vermeersch streak that ended tonight. It marks Reid's career-best while MacLeod matched a career-best for the third time.
- Anthony Bitetto has tallied two assists in his last three outings, accruing six points in all. MacLeod is the only other skater this season to score six points in three games (Nov. 13 - 20).
- Mike McLaughin attained a career-high by assist in three-consecutive games against UMass Lowell on Jan. 8.
- MacLeod notched his 10th-career game-winning goal just 18 seconds into the third period. The 18-second mark stands as the quickest goal any Husky has scored to start a period this season. The next quickest was McNeely's goal 26 seconds into the third period at Vermont on Nov. 26.
- Tyler McNeely leads the team in empty net goals and stands as NU's third of the season. McNeely's other empty-net goal also came against UMass Lowell in an identical score at Tsongas Center on Oct. 23.
- Drew Daniels played in his 50th-career game against UMass Lowell on Jan. 8 (and second at the defenseman position.