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NORTH ANDOVER, MA. - J.C. Robitaille (Des Ruisseaux, Quebec) scored two goals, including the game-winner, as Merrimack scored four times after trailing 2-0, to upset #7 Northeastern 4-2 Friday night at Lawler Arena.
Trailing 2-0 in the second, Merrimack finally came to life behind Robitaille, who fired a slap-shot from just inside the blue line at 13:11 of the second that beat Brad Thiessen high to his glove side.
The Warriors, who were 0-8-1 when trailing after two periods entering Fridayís game, evened the score behind an unassisted goal from Fraser Allan (North Battleford, Sask.), his first collegiate tally at 7:09 of the third. Allan grabbed hold of the puck outside the offensive zone and dribbled in to Thiessenís left and backhanded a shot past the netminder to even the score.
Six minutes later, Robitaille struck again, taking a feed from Pat Kimball (Framingham, MA.) and beating Thiessen for his fourth goal in two games and sixth of the season to give Merrimack its first lead.
Pat Bowen (Marshfield, MA.) became the second Warrior defender Friday to notch his first collegiate goal, as he wristed a shot from the blue line just 41 seconds after Robitailleís tally to extend the lead to 4-2. Bowen received a pass from Francois Ouimet (Lorraine, Quebec) and just fired a shot on goal through traffic over the blocker of Thiessen, who was perplexed as the puck hit the back of the net.
The Warrior defense, led by Andrew Braithwaite (Kingston, Ontario), who made his third straight start in goal, held the Huskies from there, preserving the teamís first win over an opponent ranked as high as seventh nationally since defeating then seventh-ranked Vermont 4-2 on January 27, 2006.
The Huskies, who entered the game in first place in Hockey East, unbeaten in their last 11 games (9-0-2), and unbeaten on the road in their last seven (6-0-1), scored twice in the first 22:27, getting goals from Tyler McNeely and Ryan Ginand to take the early 2-0 lead. They dominated the shots in the first half of the contest, at one point leading 20-8.
Thiessen finished with 26 saves, as the shots-on-goal were even at 30 apiece.
Merrimack (8-9-2, 4-9-1 HEA) concludes its two-game series with the Huskies (10-5-2, 7-4-1) Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Matthews Arena.