In a game in which the penalties were the centralized theme, Northeastern was issued its third-consecutive setback after Niagara topped the Huskies, 4-1, at Matthews Arena on Friday night.
An aggregate of 76 penalty minutes plagued the score sheet as Northeastern's power play went 1-for-14 while the Purple Eagles concluded their night going 2-for-8. Niagara totaled 16 penalties for 43 minutes while the Huskies racked up 33 minutes on 11 infractions.
Veteran forward Wade MacLeod recorded his 16th-career power play goal against Niagara while rookies Brodie Reid and Anthony Bitetto each earned credit with the assists. Reid leads Northeastern in scoring with five points (1-4-5) through eight games.
Sophomore Chris Rawlings returned to net after taking a break against Bentley on Oct. 30. The North Delta, B.C. native made 30 saves while Niagara's goaltender Andrew Hare stopped 42 shots.
The Huskies 43 shots is a season high, topping their 39-attempt outing against New Hampshire on Oct. 22.
Northeastern was granted the first two power play chances of the contest as C.J. Chartrain and Ryan Annesley were each whistled at 4:38 and 6:40, respectively.
Chartrain's cross-checking call led to a pair of Huskies' openings, but Niagara was able to turn the kill into a 2-on-1 the other way. Paul Zanette handled the shot, but he pushed it wide right of Rawlings in an attempt to spoil the home-crowd momentum.
Two seconds after Chartrain was released, Annesley's interference penalty gave way to a great chance by sophomore Garrett Vermeersch from the point. Vermeersch smashed one from the top of the zone, but a Purple Eagle defenseman got in front of it, forcing the puck to trickle just inches off the post.
The Huskies returned the favor to Niagara with a couple penalties of their own a few exchanges later. A pair of blue liners in Bitetto and senior Randy Guzior took an interference (10:02) and cross-checking (11:47), in that order, to impart a quick 5-on-3 window to the Purple Eagles. Rawlings stood his ground in net, anchoring the penalty-killing unit to keep Niagara off the board.
To close out the first and start the second, Jeff Hannan and Giancarlo Iuorio took respective hooking and slashing infractions at 18:13 and 19:32.
The Huskies started the second session with 13 seconds of a two-man advantage, but the Purple Eagles clogged the middle and prevented Northeastern from getting any grade-A scoring chances through the power play.
Niagara killed off another power play before netting the first marker of the contest in short-handed fashion. The Purple Eagles were assessed a bench minor, but an aggressive forecheck from P. Zanette led to a Purple Eagles' tally.
P. Zanette stripped the puck from rookie Cody Ferriero in Niagara's zone and slid the disc over to a flanking Bryan Haczyk on the left side. Haczyk collected the puck and attacked the right corner from eight feet out for 1-0 edge at 5:57.
The Huskies gained another 5-on-3 window after Scott Arnold and Patrick Divjak were both issues off at the same time for high-sticking and holding, respectively at 11:59. Northeastern posed a couple threats around the crease, but the Purple Eagles were astute with clearing the puck coupled with a few nice stops by Hare.
Niagara doubled up the Huskies at 15:36 of the second in extra-attacker fashion on a tally from P. Zanette. Senior Mike Hewkin's holding call forced Niagara coach Dave Burkholder to pull Hare with the ensuing call. The Purple Eagles set up shot at the top of the zone and took advantage of the extra skater.
Dan Weiss made a cross-ice pass to Divjak on the low post. P. Zanette separated from his defender on the opposite side, received the dish and popped the puck over Rawlings shoulder for the 2-0 advantage.
A five-minute major from the elbow of senior Tyler McNeely (contact to the head - elbowing) at 00:50 to start the third frame yielded a pair of extra-man markers for Niagara to push its lead to 4-0. Ryan Rashid attacked first at 2:43 with help from Matt Williams and Divjak while P. Zanette notched his second of the game at 3:21 with assists to Annesley and Iuorio.
Northeastern broke its scoreless draught at 6:44 of the last period after MacLeod roofed a pass from Reid to cut into Niagara's advantage with the extra skater, 4-1. Bitetto set the play up by shifting the puck over to Reid on the near side. Reid threw it towards the goalmouth and MacLeod was able to pot the Huskies' lone goal of the contest on the power play. Jeff Hannan was given two minutes for holding to enable NU with power play.
MacLeod's tally stood as the last of the contest, but a sum total of 10 penalties were handed out within just over 13 minutes remaining to play.
Northeastern will now enter the heart of its Hockey East schedule, starting with a three-game road swing. The Huskies invade Alfond Arena next weekend for a two-game set against the University of Maine starting on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. Northeastern returns home to Matthews Arena on Saturday, Nov. 20 to close out the season series with Providence at 7 p.m.
To replay any home game of the Huskies, visit GoNU.TV. Channel 81 on HuskyCable is available to Northeastern students in on-campus residence halls and any other TV location on the Northeastern campus. Channel 81 broadcasts all events at Matthews Arena LIVE!