junior Joe Vitale
has been named Hockey East Player of the Week, the league announced on Monday.
Vitale, the Penguins’ seventh-round choice (195th overall) in 2005, had a goal and two assists, leading Northeastern to a split against No. 4 New Hampshire last weekend.
In Friday’s game at Matthews Arena, Vitale assisted on freshman Wade MacLeod’s power-play goal at 13:26 in the third period, starting a Huskies rally. New Hampshire eventually won, 7-4, after UNH’s James vanRiemsdyk, the second-overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, scored an empty-netter as the clock ran out.
On Saturday, Northeastern posted a 2-1 win, its first win over New Hampshire since 2002 and its first win at UNH’s Whittemore Center since 1998. After New Hampshire’s Peter LeBlanc scored the first goal of the game at 5:36, Vitale set up MacLeod for the second straight night in a row just nine seconds after LeBlanc’s goal. Vitale then scored the game-winning goal at 17:17 in the first period.
Vitale has two goals and three assists for five points in his last three games. His five points on the season are tied for tops on the team with sophomore Randy Guzior. Vitale had 16 points in each of his first two seasons at Northeastern.
Prior to coming to Northeastern, Vitale played a season for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the U.S. Hockey League. He also played two seasons for the St. Louis Junior Blues of the Central States Hockey League, where the team had a combined record of 65-8 in his two seasons. He attended Christian Brothers College High School, helping the team to three state championships, two undefeated seasons and one national title.