ROCHESTER, NY - Karl Stollery (Camrose, AB) tallied his first career hat trick and added an assist as 17th-ranked Merrimack fired 50 shots, ending RIT's 12-game home unbeaten streak with a decisive 5-3 victory Saturday night at Ritter Arena.
Merrimack (9-4-4, 5-4-3 HEA) resumes Hockey East action with a big home game against #8/7 Maine on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Lawler Arena. A very limited amount of tickets remain and are available online at merrimackathletics.com.
The victory is the Warriors' seventh in their last nine games and gives them points in nine of their last 11, and points in six of their last seven road contests. Merrimack remained unbeaten at 3-0-1 in non-conference action and is 17-6-3 in its last 26 non-conference contests.
In addition to Stollery's big game, Stephane Da Costa (Paris, France), Mike Collins (Boston, MA) and Joe Cucci (Melrose Park, IL) also posted multi-point efforts, as Da Costa extended his point streak to seven games with three points in the win.
The Warriors, who became the highest-ranked team to ever play at Ritter Arena, came out strong, outshooting the Tigers 18-3 but trailed 2-1 at the end of the first.
The visitors outshot RIT 5-0 in the first two minutes, but it was Taylor McReynolds who scored first, capitalizing on a Warrior turnover in its defensive zone and beating Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) along the ice at 2:02. Collins evened the score with his third of the year, taking a feed from Brendan Ellis (Kelowna, BC) who was pinching behind the net of goaltender Josh Watson. Da Costa also assisted on the freshman's goal at 15:53. But the Tigers answered right back as Tyler Brenner redirected a slapper from Adam Hartley at 17:54 on the power play, giving the host the 2-1 lead through one.
In the first meeting between the two teams in 21 years, Merrimack's hard work paid off in the second, as they rattled off three unanswered goals, two from Stollery and all on the special teams, while outshooting the hosts 18-5 in the second.
Stollery knotted the game at two at 9:54 with a shorthanded, unassisted breakaway tally beating Watson between the legs with a backhander.
Da Costa gave the Warriors the lead at 12:05 with his eighth of the year. With Merrimack on a 4-on-3 man-advantage, Cucci fed Da Costa, who one-timed a blast which was also assisted by Stollery.
Stollery added his second of the game on the power play at 19:36, finding a loose puck after a Chris Barton (Calgary, AB) shot was blocked. Cucci also assisted on the goal, his second of the period.
Picking up right where they left off, Da Costa fed Stollery 21 seconds into the third as the junior defender finished off the hat trick, extending the visitors' lead to three.
Andrew Favot added a late power-play marker for the Tigers, their second power-play tally of the game.
Stollery became the second Warrior to net a hat trick this season, with Jesse Todd (Camrose, AB) being the other in a 4-3 win at Lowell.
Cannata finished with just 13 saves, as Merrimack outshot RIT 50-16 in the victory, firing over 50 shots for the first time in at least 10 years.
RIT entered Saturday's game unbeaten at home in its last 12 games, dating back to January 30, 2010. They were 20-2-2 in Rochester since the beginning of last season, which was the best home mark nationally in that span.
Merrimack finished 2-for-9 on the man-advantage, while its top-ranked penalty kill was successful in 4-of-6 attempts.