HANOVER, NH - Seventh-ranked Merrimack outshot Holy Cross 41-18 as Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) earned his seventh career shutout in a 3-0 victory in the third-place game of the Ledyard National Bank Classic at Dartmouth Saturday.
Merrimack (11-3-3, 7-2-0 HEA) returns to Hockey East action with a pair of big games next weekend, beginning Friday at #9 Boston University at 7 p.m. and continuing Sunday at #3 Boston College at 1 p.m.
Karl Stollery (Camrose, AB), Jordan Heywood (Regina, SK) and Brandon Brodhag (Brooklyn Park, MN) each scored as Merrimack concluded non-conference play with a 4-1-2 record.
The Warriors had plenty of chances in a scoreless first period, outshooting the Crusaders 15-6. Mike Collins (Boston, MA) had one of the best chances, rattling a wrister off the post during a power play.
Merrimack finally broke through on a two-man advantage at 6:41 of the second as Stollery one-timed a feed from Collins past Thomas Tysowsky for his fourth of the year. Stollery's power play goal, which snapped Merrimack's 0-for-25 skid on the man advantage, was also assisted by Kyle Bigos (Upland, CA) and culminated a stretch in which the Warriors outshot Holy Cross 11-2 in the first seven minutes of the period.
Merrimack finished the second outshooting Holy Cross 17-4 and 32-10 overall through 40 minutes. Heywood gave the Warriors insurance as the sophomore assistant captain netted his second of the year at 5:28 of the third with the teams skating four aside. Heywood took feeds from Shawn Bates (Ft. Saskatchewan, AB) and Stollery and beat Tysowsky between the legs with a wrister from the right faceoff circle.
Brodhag then put the game away with his second of the tournament and third of the year at 13:05. Brodhag took a pass from Rhett Bly (Regina, SK) and went straight to the net, beating Tysowsky high, giving the Warriors the three-goal lead.
Cannata wasn't busy but was sharp when called upon. He made a sprawling glove save midway through the second period and had five saves in the first five minutes of the third when Merrimack led by just one goal.
With a second-period assist, Bates extended his point streak to five games. The sophomore led the Warriors with five points in the tournament.
Tysowsky kept his team in it with 38 saves, including 31 in the first two periods.
Stollery's power play goal was Merrimack's first since December 2 at Providence, a game in which the Warriors were still unbeaten and ranked first in the country.
Merrimack went 1-for-5 on the man-advantage and killed all three Holy Cross power plays.
With the win, Merrimack improved to 13-1-1 in its last 15 games against the Crusaders.