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NORTH ANDOVER, MA - Kyle Bigos (Upland, CA) and Ryan Flanigan (Rochester, NY) each had a goal and an assist as 13th ranked Merrimack made it three straight to open the season, defeating Northeastern 4-1 in front of the seventh straight sellout crowd of 2,489 at Lawler Arena.
Merrimack (3-0-0, 2-0-0 HEA) hosts Connecticut Saturday at 7 p.m. to conclude Homecoming Weekend. Less than 150 tickets remain as fans are encouraged to arrive early to participate in Fan Fest beginning at 5:30 p.m. outside Lawler Arena.
The Warriors controlled the first, outshooting Northeastern 17-8 and took a 1-0 lead at the intermission behind a power play goal from Mike Collins (Boston, MA). Collins took feeds from Flanigan and Karl Stollery (Camrose, AB) and beat Chris Rawlings between the circles for his first of the year at 10:25.
The teams played to a scoreless second period despite 27 total shots, 16 by the Warriors, giving Rawlings 32 stops in 40 minutes. Jesse Todd (Calgary, AB) led the way for the hosts with six shots through the first two periods.
Sophomore assistant captain Jordan Heywood (Regina, SK) made it 2-0 at :48 of the third as the defenseman grabbed a rebound off a Shawn Bates (Fort Saskatchewan, AB) shot and blasted it past Rawlings for his first of the year. Brandon Brodhag (Brooklyn Park, MN) also picked up an assist on the goal.
Minutes later, Bigos pushed the lead to three as the junior defender kept a Husky clear in at the blue line. He made a nifty move around the Northeastern forward and fired a slapper that blew by Rawlings at 6:09, ending the evening for the junior goaltender.
The Huskies did answer at 7:40 as Ludwig Karlsson ended Joe Cannata's (Wakefield, MA) shutout attempt, beating the senior with a wrist shot glove side for his first collegiate goal.
Flanigan put the game away with an empty netter at 19:54, with Bigos getting the assist.
Cannata finished with 27 stops, highlighted by 11 in the second on his way to his 45th career win, tops in school history. Rawlings made 36 saves in 46 minutes of action before Clay Witt relieved him.
Merrimack outshot Northeastern 47-28 in the game, registering at least 14 shots in every period.
Now 3-0 for the first time since 2007-08, Merrimack will look to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 1993-94 on Saturday at Lawler Arena, where they have won ten straight and are now 28-5-2 since the start of 2009-10.