NORTH ANDOVER, MA – A three goal second period propelled the Warriors to the 6-0 victory over the Maine Black Bears on Saturday night in front the second-straight sellout crowd of 2,489 at Lawler Arena. Junior Sam Marotta (Bridgewater, Mass.) made 30 saves in his second career shutout.
Marotta improved to 5-4-2 in the shutout victory, marking the second shutout of his career after shutting out the UConn Huskies last season by the same score, 6-0.
Merrimack (8-9-4, 6-5-1 HEA) will head up to Orono next weekend for a pair of conference games with the Black Bears on Friday and Saturday night.
After not recording a point in a conference game for the first time this season last night, Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.) netted a game-high two goals and an assist for the Warriors. Eleven Warriors recorded at least one point and four finished with multi-point efforts in the victory.
Merrimack blew the game open in the second period as John Heffernan (Scituate, Mass.) picked up his third goal of the season off of a rebound after a shot from Shawn Bates (Ft. Saskatechewan, AB). Josh Myers (Colorado Springs, CO) also picked up his sixth assist of the season on the Heffernan goal. Just over four minutes later, Vinny Scotti (Vineland, NJ) made the score 4-0 in favor of the home team with the assists going to his line mates John Gustafsson (Ljungby, Sweden) and Connor Toomey (Billerica, Mass.). Collins picked up a power-play tally with 1:20 left in the second period as he beat Matt Morris under his blocker to extend the Warriors lead to five. Kyle Bigos (Upland, Calif.) and Brendan Ellis (Kelowna, BC) each picked up assists on Collins' 11th goal of the season.
The Warriors opened up the scoring with 4:54 to play in the first as Collins picked up a rebound after a Dan Kolomatis (Basking Ridge, NJ) shot from the circle and buried it behind Martin Ouellette for his first goal of the game. Just over four minutes later the Warriors lead was stretched to two goals as Quinn Gould (Fort McMurray, AB) took a Collins pass and wristed the puck past the Black Bears goaltender.
After killing off a two-man advantage early in the third period, Ellis picked up the Warriors second power-play goal of the night as he snuck one inside the left post to make the score 6-0 in favor of Merrimack. Toomey and Bigos each recorded their second assists of the night on Ellis' third goal of the season.
The Merrimack penalty-killing unit was strong all night long holding the Black Bears to 0-8 on the power play and only nine shots as the Warriors defense blocked multiple scoring attempts. Myers and Justin Mansfield (Arlington, Mass.) finished the game with a team-high four blocked shots while the team compiled 26 total blocked shots for the game.
Merrimack finished the game going 2-8 on the power play, improving to 3-0 this season when scoring two power play goals and 9-0-1 over the past two seasons.
Ouellette finished with 13 saves while Morris recorded seven for the Black Bears in the loss.
With the win, Merrimack improves to 5-0-1 against the Black Bears in their last six meetings at Lawler Arena.