BOSTON - Northeastern and No. 10/11 Maine skated to 3-3 draw in a back-and-forth affair in front of a raucous crowd at Matthews Arena on Saturday night. The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals just over a minute apart in the second period while Maine responded later in the same stanza with a pair of power play tallies 55 seconds apart. The Black Bears took their first lead early on in the third before senior Wade MacLeod knotted it up with a prosperous bounce at 17:24 of the third to give the Huskies an imperative point in the Hockey East standings.
MacLeod and rookie defenseman Anthony Bitetto acted as Northeastern's two-point getters, each with a goal and an assist, while junior Mike McLaughlin has scored in his last two outings.
Sophomore goaltender Chris Rawlings' shutout streak lasted 167:12 (167 minutes and 12 seconds) before Maine broke his blanking bid. The North Delta, B.C. native blocked 34 shots to push his record to 6-8-5. Maine backstoper Shawn Sirman made 19 saves to set his mark at 3-0-3.
Maine outshot Northeastern, 37-22, with a 16-8 advantage in the second frame.
Northeastern went with the extra-attacker right out of the gate thanks to a boarding call assessed to Kyle Beattie at 1:54 of the first, but Maine clogged the middle and guarded the perimeter to keep the Huskies off the board early on.
After a 4-on-4 situation passed without any damage, Maine took its first crack on the power play after senior Steve Silva sat for a hook at 9:59. The Black Bears extra-man window was shut down much like NU's to start the game.
Silva took another hooking call at 15:09, but rookie Rob Dongara induced a turnover at the red line on the near boards and wheeled in towards Sirman. Gustav Nyquist trailed Dongara as his only defense from preventing a short-handed goal was by hooking the freshman at 16:13 to offset Maine's power play. Northeastern gained an abridged power play, but did not pose any scoring threats.
Closing out the first period, freshman Cody Ferriero drew a cross-checking call along the far corner at 19:20 to give the Huskies a 1:40 advantage to open the second.
With just 54 seconds melted off the clock in the second, Bitetto buried MacLeod's rebound in between the circle to draw first blood on the power play, 1-0. After the cycle, senior Tyler McNeely controlled the puck in far corner and popped it out to MacLeod on the right dot. MacLeod let one loose into Sirman's chest, but the puck caromed out to Bitetto in the slot and the freshman blue liner cashed in on an open left side of the net.
Just over a minute later, the Huskies momentum yielded their second goal of the period at 1:59. Freshman Jamie Oleksiak triggered the play by pushing the puck out to the neutral zone where Brodie Reid redirected it to Dongara in the neutral zone. Dongara carried it into the Black Bears' zone and made a perfect drop pass to McLaughlin waiting in the shadows. McLaughlin zipped a wrist shot from a top the right circle over Sirman's glove to extended NU's lead, 2-0.
Maine started to put on the pressure and Northeastern's defense finally gave in at 16:15 of the second period as the Black Bears cut NU's lead in half with an extra-attacker goal. Oleksiak's holding penalty (13:42) was killed off, but sophomore Drew Daniels was cited for hooking at 14:22 to give Maine the 5-on-3. Once NU gained Oleksiak back onto the ice, freshman Luke Eibler took a hooking call at 16:15. Sirman raced to the bench and Brian Flynn redirected Nyquist's blast in front of the net seconds later.
Tanner House notched the equalizer under a minute later on Eibler's hooking call at 17:10 of the second stanza. Spencer Abbott dished the puck out from the corner and House flung the disc through traffic atop the left circle to knot the game up, 2-2, for Maine's second-consecutive goal.
After Maine killed of a Mark Nemec tripping infraction at 2:54, House potted his second-straight goal at 5:50 to give Maine its first lead of the evening. Eibler leveled a Maine forward just before the blue line, but the puck trickled fortuitously to House on the left circle. House had some room and crafted a move to beat Rawlings for the 3-2 edge.
The pace picked up in the middle of the third and Northeastern pushed it into overtime thanks to a knuckle-puck goal from the twig of MacLeod at 17:24. Bitetto swept the puck around the boards into Maine's zone and the disc came to rest in a scrum with McNeely, Silva and a Maine defenseman. Silva poked it out to the blue line and MacLeod dumped it towards Sirman, but the puck took an awkward bounce and duped the netminder for the final goal of regulation.
The game pushed into overtime, and despite the game concluding in a 3-3 draw, sophomore Steve Quailer was called for boarding at 3:35 to raise NU's pulses. Maine outshot Northeastern in the extra frame, 3-0.
Northeastern closes out its six-game home stand in its first televised game of the season on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The Huskies welcome will take on Massachusetts as the contest will be broadcast on NESN.
Game Notes - Chris Rawlings' shutout his opponents for 167 minutes and 12 seconds. Before Brian Flynn scored at 16:15 of the second, Rawlings' last surrendered goal came at the 9:03 mark of the third period against Vermont on Jan. 14. The North Delta, B.C. native shutout Vermont (Jan. 15 - 2-0) and Harvard (Jan. 19 - 3-0) in back-to-back affairs.
- Wade MacLeod is now 31st all-time in the NU scoring annals with 114 career points after his two-point game against Maine on Jan. 22. MacLeod passed Bill Seabury (64-49-113), Mike Ryan (63-50-113) and Dan McGillis (30-83-113) with his late third-period goal. MacLeod's two-point game stands as his sixth multi-point performance of 2010-11 and his 30th-career multi-point outing.
- Anthony Bitetto broke a nine-game stretch without a goal (last goal against Providence on Nov. 20) by registering a goal and an assist against Maine on Jan. 22. Bitetto's two-point performance stands as his fourth of the season. It's the first time he scored a goal and an assist in one game.
- Mike McLaughlin scored in consecutive games for the third time in his career while Brodie Reid has assisted in his last two.
- Northeastern's goals at 00:54 and 1:59 of the second period stand as the two-fastest tallies the Huskies have accounted for in a period this season.