Josh Soares nets hat trick and adds assist for Black Bears

BOSTON, Mass. - Northeastern took a 7-1 loss to No. 3 Maine in which the Black Bears had three short-handed goals and Josh Soares had a hat trick on Saturday night at Matthews Arena. Husky sophomore Joe Vitale scored a short-handed goal for Northeastern, his fourth goal of the season and the third short-handed goal of his career.

Maine's Keith Johnson scored the fisrt goal of the game 1:05 into it on a rush after Soares made an excellent cross-ice pass at the blueline. Just after Maine's goal, Northeastern's Ray Ortiz had a great scoring chance when a Maine player lost the puck in the defensive zone. Ortiz grabbed the puck and shot it off the post.

Michel Leveille made it 2-0 in favor of the Black Bears when he scored off a great pass from Teddy Purcell from behind the net at 11:54. Maine had a 4-on-3 situation that ended right before the goal. Soares made it 3-0 at 12:39 when he tipped a Bret Tyler shot past Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen.

Maine scored twice in the second period to make it 5-0 heading into the third. With Northeastern on a power play, Mike Hamilton stole the puck for a breakaway. Thiessen saved Hamilton's shot but couldn't cover up the puck and Soares scored on the rebound. Maine's fifth goal was scored unassisted by Hamilton with a shot on Thiessen's stick side at 11:04.

The Huskies' best scoring chance of the game second period came at 7:00 when Ryan Ginand set up Mike Morris on a power play, but Morris's shot went wide between Maine goalie Ben Bishop and the goal.

Maine scored twice more in the third period. Soares scored a short-handed goal with an assist from Billy Ryan at 5:54 before Ryan scored a short-handed goal of his own at 12:29.

The Huskies avoided the shutout with Vitale's goal at 17:55 in the third period. Vitale got the puck from Rob Rassey and took it in for a breakaway on Bishop.

Thiessen made 27 saves in the game while Bishop made 20. Northeastern fell to 4-9-2 overall and 2-8-2 in Hockey East while Maine improved to 9-3-1 and 5-3-1.

Northeastern is off until Dec. 29 when it plays Colgate in the opening round of the UConn Hockey Tournament in Storrs, Conn. NU will play Connecticut or Holy Cross in the second round the following day.