NORTH ANDOVER, MA - Behind two goals from Mike Collins (Boston, MA) and 25 saves from Sam Marotta (Bridgewater, MA), the Merrimack hockey team defeated the Under-20 Sweden National Team 4-1 in an exhibition game in front of 1,305 fans Tuesday afternoon at Lawler Arena.
Merrimack started quickly as Collins got his own rebound and beat Johan Gustafsson at 1:26 of the first. Rhett Bly (Regina, SK) and Jordan Heywood (Regina, SK) picked up the assists, as freshmen all factored in to the Warriors' first goal.
Elliott Sheen (Lethbridge, AB) and Stephane Da Costa (Paris, France) scored 20 seconds apart early in the second to propel the hosts to the 3-0 lead through two periods.
Sheen skated coast-to-coast, beating Gustafsson for the unassisted tally at 1:56. Twenty seconds later, a slap shot from Da Costa went off a Swedish defender and by Gustafsson for the power-play tally as Merrimack outshot Sweden 15-5 in the second period.
Marcus Sorensen ruined Marotta's bid for a shutout at 7:22 taking feeds from John Klingberg and Johan Sundstrom to cut the lead to two, but Collins put the game away with his second of the afternoon at 17:06 of the third.
Making his first collegiate start, Marotta was sharp, turning aside 25 shots, including all 10 in the first when the Warriors were outshot 10-5. Sophomore Nick Drew (Andover, MA) made his first collegiate appearance in the final minute in goal and stopped his first career shot.
The Warriors' penalty kill was sharp again, killing all five Sweden opportunities, while the power play was 1-for-6.
Used as an admissions outreach tool, the first-ever meeting between Merrimack and the Under-20 Sweden National Team featured free admission to the Merrimack community as over 800 kids were in attendance, busing to North Andover with their local schools on Voting Day.
Merrimack (2-1-2, 1-1-1 HEA) returns to Hockey East action at Providence College Friday at 7 p.m.