As a freshman, Vitale ranked second on the Huskies in both goals and assists.
Key Statistics: Vitale scored eight goals in addition to eight assists last season, making him the second highest goal and point scorer on the Huskies. He really got on a hot streak late in the year, scoring eight points in his last 10 contests before missing the final three games of the season with a sprained ankle. Vitale also led NU with 30 penalties and 71 penalty minutes.
What He Does: Playing
a good amount of the season as the first-line center,
Vitale really proved that he could lead the young Northeastern
squad. He plays with a ton of energy, isn't afraid to
get dirty in the corners and has the ability to light
the lamp. One thing is for certain; everyone who watches
the Huskies will notice Vitale on the ice.
The Bigger Picture: As
a top-line forward, Vitale needs to convert more scoring
chances, but he showed that offensive aptitude before
his season-ending ankle injury in 2005-06. Northeastern
is still in a rebuilding mode under second-year coach
Greg Cronin, so Vitale won't be asked to save the world
on his own but he does need to continue playing at a
veteran level to lead the pups.
Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin
on Vitale: "I've always said that when
you're coaching a team, you have to have players who
are what I call 'lighting rods.' They have energy, and
they play with energy and conviction. To have a freshman
play that way for  games despite being in the middle
of a frustrating season reflects a bright future both
for Joe and for the program."