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NORTH ANDOVER, MA - Francois Ouimet had a goal and an assist, while Chris Barton netted the game-winner as Merrimack improved to 3-0 at home for the first time since the 1993-94 season with a 5-2 victory over #7 Vermont Friday night at Lawler Arena.
OTHER LINKS: Mark Dennehy Audio (mp3) - Kevin Sneddon Audio (mp3)- Chris Barton Audio (mp3)
With the win, the Warriors are 3-2 overall and 1-0 in Hockey East for the first time since 2002-03. Vermont drops to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in Hockey East with the loss. Merrimack goes for its fourth straight home win on Sunday against Connecticut at 4 p.m.
Despite a goal from Kyle Medvec 20 seconds into the first, the Warriors responded right back as junior John Jamieson scored his first of the season, putting home a rebound off a Karl Stollery shot at 3:02 of the first. Merrimack was fortunate to escape the first period with the 1-1 tie, as the hosts were outshot 14-5 and were forced to kill four minors, including a two-man advantage for 1:30.
Ouimet gave Merrimack the lead with his second of the year at 2:04 of the second. The junior took a feed from Pat Bowen after sneaking behind the defense and back-handed it past Rob Madore.
Brayden Irwin evened the score just 55 seconds later, but Barton responded, one-timing a Stollery pass on the power play past the glove of Madore for his fifth of the season at 5:58 of the second.
The Warriors, who also had a goal disallowed in the second after a crease violation, took it to the Catamounts in the second, outshooting the visitors 14-4.
They picked up the all important insurance goal at 4:28 of the third as Simon Demers notched his first career goal, one-timing a Joe Cucci pass from the point for the Warriors' second power-play goal of the game. Bowen picked up his second assist of the game, giving the senior captain six in five games this season.
"Our guys gave up a goal early, but we just kept playing," said head coach Mark Dennehy. "You're only going to be as good as your seniors, and Bowen and Pat Kimball showed great leadership tonight. Our guys did a great job of putting the puck in the right place and supporting the puck most importantly."
Elliott Sheen added an empty-netter with 1:15 remaining, as the Warriors earned their second home win over Vermont in as many seasons.
Joe Cannata was sharp in the win stopping 25 shots, including 13 in the first. Madore finished with 29 stops, 25 in the final two periods.
Special teams was the difference, as the Merrimack killed off all five Catamount power plays, making it 13 straight minors negated at home, while netting two on the power play in six chances.
Three Warriors posted multi-point evenings, with Stollery and Bowen picking up two assists each, in addition to Ouimet's performance.