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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - Jesse Todd scored the game-winner while Joe Cannata stopped 26 shots as the Merrimack hockey team defeated Holy Cross 3-1 in front of 1,808 fans at Lawler Arena in the home opener Friday night.
The Warriors, who will host Army Saturday night, improve to 1-2 overall with the win, while Holy Cross falls to 0-2 on the season.
Junior captain Chris Barton broke a scoreless tie at 1:49 of the second, as he located the rebound of a Kyle Bigos shot and knocked it past goaltender Thomas Tysowsky on the power play for his fourth of the season. Todd earned the second assist on the goal, which was the first power play marker this year for Merrimack. Bigos' assist was the first of his collegiate career.
Todd made it 2-0, scoring the eventual game-winner, as he redirected a shot from the point from Adam Ross for his first of the season at 11:16 of the third.
Cannata, who came up big all night, had his shutout bid foiled with 45 seconds remaining as Jordan Cyr cut the lead to one with Tysowsky pulled for the extra attacker. But the Warriors held on from there, as J.C. Robitaille registered an unassisted empty-netter at 19:47 to put the game away.
Cannata stopped the first 26 shots he faced, including two prime scoring chances from Cyr, while the Crusaders had a two-man advantage for 40 seconds midway through the second. After the Warriors killed off the 5-on-3, they successfully burned off the remaining 4:20 of a major penalty to conclude the second period with the 1-0 lead.
The Warriors killed four power plays in all, allowing just three shots on Crusaders' power play.
Highly touted freshman Stephane Da Costa made his Merrimack debut and registered two shots in the win. Using his explosive speed and nifty puck-handling ability, Da Costa set up Joe Cucci with a pretty move while on the power play in the first, but Cucci could not get the shot on net.
Todd and Robitaille each had multi-point games, earning a goal and an assist each in the win, as Merrimack has won six straight non-conference games at home dating back to the 2007-08 season.
Making his first collegiate start in goal, Tysowski stopped 25 shots in the loss.