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Joe Vitale and Tyler McNeely each had a goal and an assist to lead Northeastern to a 4-2 win over Vermont on Friday night at Matthews Arena. Randy Guzior scored the game-winning goal and netminder Brad Thiessen made 22 saves for the victory.
It was Northeastern's second win in a row, improving the Huskies to 3-4-0 and 3-3-0 in Hockey East while Vermont remained winless at 0-4-1 and 0-1-1 in Hockey East.
Down 1-0 entering the second period, Northeastern got on top by the second intermission. After killing off a 5-on-3 power play, Northeastern got an advantage of its own when Vermont's Jack Downing was called for contact to the head-roughing at 9:49 in the second. The Huskies moved the puck well on the power play and kept it in the Vermont zone for well over a minute until Chad Costello scored on a slapshot at 11:23 to tie the score at 1-1.
Vermont's Brayden Irwin and Northeastern's Chris Donovan were called for matching penalties for hitting after the whistle, resulting in a 4-on-4 at 17:17 in the second period. The back-and-forth play resulted in a Northeastern goal when Tyler McNeely and Joe Vitale rushed into the Vermont zone. Vitale passed the puck to McNeely, who rushed the net and beat Vermont goalie Joe Fallon at 17:58. The Huskies entered the locker room for the second time with a 2-1 lead.
Vermont tied it at 2-2 less than a minute into the third period when Irwin scored. Viktor Stalberg passed the puck to Irwin, who was wide open to Thiessen's right and Irwin lifted it over Thiessen's glove for the goal at 0:52.
The game was tied for over 10 minutes until Guzior gave the Huskies the lead for good. Drew Muench poked the puck to Guzior in the defensive zone and Guzior rushed up the left side of the ice with Chris Donovan on his right. Guzior sent the puck toward the net and a Vermont defenseman dove down between Guzior and Donovan. The puck went off the defenseman's skate, off Fallon's back and into the net to make it 3-2 at 13:26 in the third period.
Vermont pressed to even it late in the game, pulling Fallon in favor of a sixth skater. Instead, Vitale was able to score an empty-netter to make it a 4-2 final. Ryan Ginand tipped the puck to Tyler McNeely, who centered it for Vitale. Vitale got past a Vermont defender and put the puck in the open net for his third goal of the season.
Vermont scored the first goal of the game when Downing scored at 10:47 in the first period. A Northeastern player tried to clear the puck from behind the and Dan Lawson cut it off at the blueline. Lawson skated around the near side before making a perfect pass to Downing, who was wide open on the far side of the crease. Downing got the puck and flipped it behind Thiessen to make it 1-0. The Huskies outshot Vermont, 13-8, in the period and had several scoring chances but couldn't find the back of the net.
Fallon made 27 saves in the game but took his first loss to Northeastern in eight career starts. Northeastern outshot Vermont 31-24 in the game and took just three penalties.
Northeastern hosts Boston University on Saturday night at Matthews Arena. The game begins at 7 p.m. and will be on the radio on 890 ESPN Boston and WRBB Radio. Live audio and video will be on GoNU.TV.