NORTH ANDOVER, MA - Karl Stollery (Camrose, AB) had a goal and an assist, while Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) had 37 saves as #5 Merrimack defeated Providence 4-2 in front of a sold out crowd of 2,489 at Lawler Arena Sunday afternoon.
Merrimack (14-5-5, 10-4-3 HEA) remains at home next Friday to take on #2 Boston University in a huge conference matchup at 7 p.m. on WBIN and Fox College Sports Pacific. The season series is tied at one with each of the first two games played at Agganis Arena.
The Warriors moved into fourth place with the victory in Hockey East and are one point out of third and two out of first with two games in hand on first-place BU and three games in hand on BC and Maine.
Merrimack wasted no time as Rhett Bly (Regina, SK) netted his second goal in as many games at 2:45 of the first. Bly won the draw to Stollery, whose shot was deflected by Justin Mansfield (Arlington, MA) right to Bly, who beat Alex Beaudry for his third of the season.
But the Friars evened it up on their first power play of the game, as Stefan Demopoulos notched his fifth of the year at 9:29. Demopoulos beat Cannata on a rebound attempt after the Friars had multiple scoring attempts, holding possession for the first 1:16 of the man advantage.
Stollery regained the lead for the hosts with 56 seconds left in the first with Merrimack on a 4-on-3 power play after Ross Mauermann was whistled for a five minute penalty for charging. Stollery took feeds from Kyle Bigos (Upland, CA) and Mike Collins (Boston, MA) and beat Beaudry for his sixth of the year.
Josh Myers (Colorado Springs, CO) gave Merrimack its second man-advantage goal during the same major penalty, as the freshman got his own rebound and beat Beaudry glove side for his first career goal at home at 3:01. Dan Kolomatis (Basking Ridge, NJ) picked up his first career assist as he fed Myers from the defensive zone on the goal. Cannata also had a helper, his first of the year, as he started the play behind the net, handing it off to Kolomatis.
Merrimack's penalty problems continued as they were whistled for two minors 39 seconds after Myers' goal, and the Friars capitalized, as Miles Harvey's one-timer beat Cannata glove side at 5:04 for his sixth of the year during the two-man advantage.
The Friars also were awarded a five-minute power play at 6:43 of the second but Cannata made big stops on Damian Cross and Demopoulos before Bly drew a penalty on a short-handed breakaway to negate two minutes of the man advantage.
Midway through the third, Cannata made three big stops, including a blast from Rob Maloney after consecutive Merrimack turnovers to preserve the lead. The Hobey Baker nominee stood tall, as the Friars outshot Merrimack 14-4 in the third but were unable to bury the tying marker.
Jesse Todd (Calgary, AB) put the game away at 19:43 with an unassisted tally from the neutral zone for his team-leading 11th of the year.
Merrimack went 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Friars were 2-for-6.
Providence outshot Merrimack 39-23 in the game, with Beaudry finishing with 19 stops.
With the victory, Merrimack improved to 14-1-3 when scoring two or more goals this season.
The sellout was the Warriors' 15th in their last 17 games and improved them to 7-3-2 at home this season.