Sophomore Patrick Watson makes 37 saves in shutout for Warriors

NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Sophomore Patrick Watson (Waltham, MA) made 37 saves for his first career shutout and also picked up his first career assist as Merrimack College defeated No. 16 Massachusetts 3-0 in Hockey East action Tuesday night at Lawler Arena.

The win snaps an eight-game losing streak for the Warriors, who improved to 2-12-1 (2-8-0 Hockey East) with the win, their first over the Minutemen (7-4-2, 4-3-1 Hockey East) since Nov. 6, 2004. The win is also the Warriors first shutout since defeating UNH 1-0 back on Nov. 29, 2005, a span of 371 days and 37 games.

Freshman Justin Bonitatibus (Arlington, MA) got the Warriors on the board first with his first collegiate goal at 8:22 of the first period on the power play. Senior Matt Byrnes (Denver, CO) slid a pass back to sophomore defenseman Brock Wilson (St. Louis, MO), who fired a shot on goal. The rebound bounced in the air and was swatted home by Bonitatibus.

In the second, senior Ryan Sullivan (Toronto, Ontario) scored his first goal of the season just as a UMass penalty expired to give MC a two-goal cushion. Junior Carmen Posteraro (Pittsburgh, PA) won a face-off that was picked up by freshman J.C. Robitaille (Des Ruisseaux, Quebec) out of a scrum. Sullivan jumped out of the box and received Robitaille’s pass at the blue line and walked in alone on sophomore netminder Jon Quick, beating him with a shot to the stick side at 10:38.

Sophomore Mickey Rego (Hudson, MA) sealed the win with his first goal of the season late in the third, finishing off a 2-on-1 break with junior Derek Pallardy (Springfield, MO). Watson played the puck up the board that was picked up by Pallardy, who skated down the left wing and fed Rego, who banged the puck home at 18:19 of the third.

The Warriors went 1-for-5 on the power play and killed off two separate 5-on-3 power play chances for the Minutemen, who finished the night 0-for-7 with the man advantage. UMass outshot the Warriors 37-19 as Quick finished with 16 saves.

The Warriors return to action on Dec. 29 when they begin a two-game road trip against Robert Morris College in Moon Township, PA.