NORTH ANDOVER, MA. - Junior captain Chris Barton had a goal and an assist as the Merrimack hockey team improved to 4-0 at home for the first time since joining Hockey East with a 4-1 victory over the University of Connecticut Sunday afternoon at Lawler Arena.
The Warriors improve to 4-2 on the season, 1-0 in Hockey East with the victory, while the Huskies drop to 0-4 overall. Merrimack will battle #14 Boston College next weekend in a home-and-home series beginning Friday night at 7 p.m. at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass. and continuing Sunday at 4 p.m. at Lawler Arena.
Two power-play goals 1:07 apart in the first gave the Warriors the early 2-0 lead. At 12:33, Jesse Todd took a pretty cross ice feed from Karl Stollery and fired it into the open net for his second of the season. Barton earned his first helper of the year, as the junior captain started the play, getting the puck to Stollery on the point.
Sixty-seven seconds later, senior captain Pat Bowen netted his first of the season, wristing one over the glove of Jeff Larson. Simon Demers earned one assist as he dished it to Stephane Da Costa, who passed it across the zone to Bowen, who drove to the net from the blue line and buried it past Larson.
Barton made it 3-0 just 1:40 into the second as Stollery sent him in on a breakaway, and the captain backhanded his team-leading sixth of the season past Larson just as a Merrimack penalty had expired.
Justin Hernandez foiled Andrew Braithwaite's shutout attempt, as he grabbed a loose puck off a scramble in front of the senior netminder, wristing it home at 6:57 of the second on the power play.
But the Warriors, who have scored first in each of their four victories, held on from there, and Elliott Sheen tacked on his second empty-netter in as many games, as the hosts picked up their third straight three-goal victory.
Braithwaite was sharp in net, stopping 23 shots in the victory, while Larson recorded 26 saves.
The Warrior power play continue to click, scoring two more man-advantage tallies, giving them eight power-play markers in their last four games.
Stollery registered two assists for the second straight game, while Demers extended his point streak to three games.