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NORTH ANDOVER, MA - In front of 2,501 fans for the home opener at the renovated Lawler Rink, the Merrimack hockey team tallied five second-period goals in a 7-1 victory over the University of Connecticut.
Merrimack (1-0-1) will open Hockey East action at Vermont next Saturday at the Gutterson Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. in Burlington.
Fourteen different Warriors picked up points, including Rhett Bly (Regina, SK), who netted his first career goal, and Mike Collins (Boston, MA) and Brendan Ellis (Kelowna, BC), who each tallied their first collegiate assist.
Merrimack's seven goals were the most scored under head coach Mark Dennehy and the most since a 7-1 victory over UNH on December 13, 2003.
With the Warrior faithful rocking, Elliott Sheen (Lethbridge, AB) opened the scoring at 12:18 of the first taking feeds from Ryan Flanigan (Rochester, NY) and Kyle Bigos (Upland, CA) and wristing it past Garrett Bartus.
After the Huskies tied it 12 seconds into the second, Stephane Da Costa (Paris, France) tallied his first of two goals in the game, stick-handling through three Huskies for the tally, with Brandon Brodhag (Brooklyn Park, MN) and Adam Ross (Red Deer, AB) picking up the helpers.
Senior captain Chris Barton (Calgary, AB) made it 3-1 2:33 later as got a great feed from Joe Cucci (Melrose Park, IL) and buried it for his first of the year and 35th of his career.
Cucci picked up his first at 10:41 as Ellis fed him with a pretty cross-ice pass for his first career point.
Da Costa notched his second of the period 2:11 later, sniping a wrist shot over the glove of Bartus, with Brodhag getting his second helper of the night.
Bly would round out the second-period scoring at 15:55, maneuvering through the Husky defense and ending the night for Bartus with his first collegiate marker.
Carter Madsen (Okotoks, AB) added a third-period tally, while Sam Marotta (Bridgewater, MA) made his debut in net, stopping seven shots in the final 13 minutes.
Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) picked up his 18th career win, stopping 17 shots in the victory.
Featuring new chairback seats behind the home bench and a brand new student bleacher section, Lawler Arena was packed early, 634 students (nearly 40% of the student body) were in the building, cheering on their Warriors.