BOSTON -- Northeastern put together a solid game for much of play on Saturday night at Matthews Arena, but finding a way to win has often been problematic for the Huskies this season.
The negative trend continued against No. 2/3 Quinnipiac as junior Sam Anas scored his 12th goal of the season on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period, allowing the Bobcats to sneak away with a 3-3 tie.
NU has won just twice in 13 games decided by a goal or less, and that is a trend with which Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan has not been pleased.
Despite a 27-23 shots on goal advantage on this night, the Huskies took four consecutive penalties in the third and overtime.
"When you get an opportunity to close out a team on your home rink and then you play stupid hockey where you get penalties from upperclassmen and too many men on the ice," Madigan said after his team moved to 3-12-4, "...I told the kids, don't be satisfied with a point against the No. 3 team as good as they are."
The Bobcats endured a slow start and scored the game's first goal at the 11:43 mark as Tommy Schutt scored the fifth goal of his junior season on a rebound.
Freshman defenseman Chase Priskie made a great play to join Quinnipiac's rush up ice and got the puck to the net, allowing Schutt to crash and bang home the loose puck through traffic.
Neither side found much offense in the early going with just a single shot on goal for each team seven minutes into the game, but Ruck faced a more challenging workload as the period continued before Schutt's first goal in 11 games.
Northeastern put a dent in the visitors' outstanding penalty kill (64-for-71 entering the night) as junior Sam Kurker leveled the score at the tail end of an advantage at 19:16.
Classmate Mike McMurtry came out of a battle at the sideboards with the puck and fed it out to the front of the net for Kurker to stuff between Quinnipiac senior goaltender Michael Garteig's legs.
"Our penalty kill was just atrocious," Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. "It's been great all year, and it was just awful. Not just the two goals we gave up, those were bad. We gave up more looks tonight than we gave up in the last ten games combined."
After Quinnipiac's penalty kill failed for just the eighth time this season, it got a goal back just 31 seconds later as freshman Scott Davidson broke a puck through Ruck's pads from an off angle on his left side.
Northeastern held a slight edge in a very even second period and managed to tie the score in its waning moments on freshman Adam Gaudette's fourth goal of the season.
On a power play at the 17:37 mark, Gaudette took McMurtry's second primary assist of the game and popped Garteig's water bottle off a shot from between the circles.
"I think we did a really good job all week of having a great game plan on the power play and kind of knowing their tendencies," McMurtry said. "Our unit tonight got the puck around moving fast, which is key because they like to overextend. We were able to find that middle guy (in the formation)."
The Huskies took their first lead of the game 3:49 into the third period as brothers John and Nolan Stevens connected. The latter Stevens fed a pass from the left side of the offensive zone, allowing junior assistant captain John to rocket his fifth goal of the season through Garteig from the slot.
Anas and the Bobcats quickly responded to the Huskies taking a too many men on the ice penalty at 16:37, tying the game within the next half-minute. Anas picked up junior defenseman Devon Toews' shot at the right side of the net and beat Ruck across the crease.
"It's been too many in the last month or so where we let teams off the hook," Madigan said. "We have to play smarter in that last period."
Although the Bobcats received the fortunate bounce of the puck in the waning minutes, Pecknold thought the home team deserved a better fate in the end. QU's record now stands at 17-1-3 on the season while it remains 8-0-2 in ECAC play.
"I thought (Northeastern) was really good tonight," Pecknold said. "They probably deserved a better fate. I thought their passion, their emotion was really good. ... I was really disappointed with our effort."