BOSTON, Mass. - Joe Vitale scored two goals in the final five minutes of the game but Northeastern couldn't complete the comeback and took a 7-4 loss to Boston University on Friday night at Matthews Arena. Chad Costello and Tyler McNeely also scored for the Huskies while BU got two goals a piece from Bryan Ewing (including the game-winner) and Brandon Yip.
After the loss, Northeastern is 14-12-3 overall and 11-9-2 in Hockey East while Boston University improved to 13-14-4 and 11-8-3. The teams rematch on Saturday night at Agganis Arena.
The Huskies were down, 5-2, when Vitale scored a power play goal at 15:24 in the third period. Steve Silva passed the puck to Drew Muench at the point, Muench shot it and Vitale deflected it past BU goalie Brett Bennett.
Northeastern called a timeout at 17:28 to set up a comeback attempt and pulled goalie Brad Thiessen for the ensuing play. The Huskies had the puck in the BU zone when Chris Higgins plucked it away and passed it to Ewing, who skated in for a breakaway and put in the empty netter at 17:39.
Just 20 seconds later Vitale put another goal on the board to get the Huskies back within two. He got the puck away from a BU defenseman in the BU zone and passed it to Kyle Kraemer. Vitale went to the net, Kraemer passed it in and Vitale got it past Bennett to make it 6-4 at 17:59.
The Huskies then pulled Thiessen again and Yip sealed the game for BU with another empty-net goal at 19:20.
Costello got Northeastern on the board with the first goal of the game at 10:36 in the first period. BU's Ryan Weston just exited the penalty box when Ryan Ginand passed the puc to Tyler McNeely on the goal line and McNeely passed it to Costello on the far side. Costello put it behind Bennett for the score.
Boston University came back with a pair of goals to take the lead before the first period was over. Dan McGoff got the puck in the neutral zone and passed it to Jason Lawrence, who scored from the left circle at 11:47. Yip then scored when he took the puck out of the corner to the crease and got a bounce past Thiessen at 14:46.
BU got a power play at 2:27 in the second period when Silva was called for contact to the head-roughing. Thiessen made a great save on a backdoor shot by Pete MacArthur, but just seconds later BU set up an identical play. This time Ewing set up Higgins for a score at 3:19.
McNeely's 10th goal of the season made it 3-2 at 15:48 in the second period. Dan Nycholat got the puck away from a BU player and Ginand passed it to McNeely. McNeely took the puck down the right side in a two-on-one with Ginand on the left and McNeely shot it in for the score.
MacArthur started the third period off with a power-play goal at 6:52 and Ewing scored a short-handed goal for the game-winner at 8:20 in the third period. Kevin Shattenkirk assisted on both goals and made a great backhanded pass to Ewing for a breakaway on the game-winner. Thiessen had made saves on multiple breakaways before Ewing's goal.
Thiessen made 31 saves in the game while Bennett stopped 25 shots. BU took 14 penalties and Northeastern took 10. Many were matching, however, and BU went two-for-three on power plays while Northeastern went one-for-seven.
Northeastern and Boston University faceoff on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Agganis Arena. The game will be broadcast on 890 ESPN Boston with Rob Rudnick and Bill Doherty.