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NORTH ANDOVER, MA - The Merrimack hockey team successfully killed off nine power plays, shutting down the Robert Morris offense in a 3-1 win Saturday night at Lawler Arena.
The Warriors also staved off two two-man advantages, one that lasted 1:49, the other 1:46, with the latter occurring in the final half of the third period.
Merrimack dominated early, outshooting the Colonials 17-6 in the first and 10-2 in the first five minutes. After killing a two-man advantage of 1:49, they got on the board with a power play goal by Francois Ouimet who hammered home a rebound off a Joe Cucci shot. Chris Barton earned the other assist on Ouimet's first of the season at 17:39.
Robert Morris evened the score late in the second as Ron Cramer found a rebound off a Branden Gay shot in front of Andrew Braithwaite and knocked it past the goaltender for his first collegiate tally at 18:17.
J.C. Robitaille notched the game-winning goal, as he fired a slapper from the slot past the blocker of goaltender Wes Russell at 1:57 of the third. Robtaille's line mates, Pat Kimball and Justin Bonitatibus got the assists, with Kimball back-handing a feed to Robitaille in the slot for the goal.
Merrimack held on from there, killing four penalties in the final period, including the lengthy two-man advantage. They blocked 13 shots in the game, including three on the two-man advantage in the third period.
Ouimet added an empty-netter late with Cucci and Grant Farrell getting the assists.
Braithwaite was solid in net stopping 24 shots. Merrimack outshot the Colonials 32-24, as Russell matched Braithwaite save-for-save, turning aside 29 shots, including 17 in the first.
Debuting their new yellow home jerseys, the Warriors' opening-night lineup featured seven freshmen and no seniors. They are now 5-1-2 in their last eight home openers.
Merrimack (1-0) kicks off conference play against Boston University Friday night at Agganis Arena at 7 p.m. and then heads to Army on Saturday. The Warriors play the next five games on the road and do not return home until October 31 when they host the defending National Champion Boston College Eagles.