Northeastern salvaged a split with Vermont in grand fashion, blanking the Catamounts, 2-0, with a 40-17 advantage in shots. Sophomore Chris Rawlings picked up his second shutout of the season, fifth of his career, via 17 saves while senior Wade MacLeod acted as the Huskies' lone goal scorer. The four-year veteran pumped in the game-winner to break a 0-0 tie at 8:50 of the third period and added an empty-netter at 19:02.
MacLeod extended his point streak to six games (5-3-8) while seniors Tyler McNeely and Steve Silva along with freshmen defensemen Anthony Bitetto and Jamie Oleksiak provided the help on MacLeod's markers.
The Huskies set the precedent early and often; testing UVM netminder Rob Madore 17 times in the first period while Vermont only mustered three shots towards Rawlings. NU outshot UVM, 19-5, in the final stanza to set the shot total at 40-17.
MacLeod took an early interference penalty at 1:46 of the first period. Vermont nearly capitalized seconds later after Nick Bruneteau unleashed a wrister from atop the zone off the left pipe, but the Huskies penalty kill displayed a physical presence and kept UVM off the board early.
Rookie Zak Stone nearly drew first blood after a four-game hiatus. Stone sniffed out a loose puck in front of Madore on the crease, but UVM's netminder gathered his balance by the time Stone was able to pick a corner.
Matt White's cross-checking call at 15:35 in the first period opened the window again for NU, and despite crisp puck movement and a some open looks, the Huskies were not able to convert to settle a scoreless first period.
The defensive standoff continued into the second as Silva's interference infraction yielded the first power play of the period. The Catamounts cycled through the zone, but Northeastern's penalty-killing corps cleared the puck a handful of times to inhibit any real UVM scoring threat.
Rawlings denied the best chance up to the 12:40 point of the second period when Chris McCarthy slashed through the zone unattested, but his wrist shot was greeted by Rawlings' frame.
After Rawlings' big save, a parade of penalties ensued, sparked by White's slashing call at 14:14. Rawlings continued to stand tall as the lanes opened up towards the net. A couple offsetting penalties transpired to close out the second session, but neither squad was rewarded with a goal.
The stalemate was finally broken after Bruneteau's holding call (7:47) yielded MacLeod's power play lamplighter at 8:50 of the third period. The Huskies restarted their extra-man offense from UVM's zone as Bitetto initiated the play with a long pass from behind NU's net out to McNeely in the neutral zone. McNeely waited for MacLeod to come into view before hitting him in stride between the circles. MacLeod carried the puck six steps before ripping the top of the net just outside the right dot for the 1-0 lead.
Northeastern did not let up in the offensive zone and continued to pummel Madore with rubber. After UVM's head coach Kevin Sneddon pulled Madore for the extra skater, the Huskies added an insurance goal to ice the 2-0 victory.
Silva poked the puck out the far boards where freshman Oleksiak zipped it out to MacLeod on the red line. MacLeod lifted the disc over the Vermont pursuer and lit the lamp for his second goal of the evening.
Northeastern steps out of Hockey East action for a Beanpot preview with Harvard on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. The last time Northeastern and Harvard met on the ice outside of the TD Garden came on Dec. 19, 1999 in Cambridge. The last time the Huskies and Crimson met at Matthews Arena was on Nov. 24, 1995 (NU lost, 4-1).
- Wade MacLeod extended his point streak to a career-best six-game stretch with the game-winning power play goal and an empty-netter against Vermont. The Coquitlam, B.C. native has registered a point in six-consecutive games three times in his career. MacLeod's power play goal stands as his 19th all-time and 11th-career game-winning goal. MacLeod has recorded two goals in a game seven times as a Husky.
- MacLeod's two goals thrust him past Jim Fahey (1998-2002) in the all-time Northeastern scoring annals. MacLeod has scored 112 points (49-63-112) in 131 career games while Fahey registered 111 points (26-85-111) in 143 fixtures. Fahey primarily played defense in his time with Northeastern.
- Chris Rawlings fifth-career shutout elevated him to third all-time in career shutouts for Northeastern. Before taking over sole possession of third place, Rawlings was tied with Marc Robitaille (1996-98). The North Delta, B.C. is now two shutouts behind Keni Gibson (2001-05) with seven and the Huskies' all-time leader, Brad Thiessen (2006-09) with nine.
- The last shutout Northeastern tacked up was a 5-0 blanking of Providence on Nov. 20 at Matthews Arena.
- Steve Silva is riding a two-game point streak after netting NU's lone goal against Vermont on Friday, Jan. 14.