SCHENECTADY, NY – Josh Myers scored twice in the third period, while Sam Marotta made 33 saves as Merrimack defeated 2012 Frozen Four finalist and fifth-ranked Union College 4-1 on opening night in front of 2,087 yesterday at Messa Rink.
Merrimack (1-0-0) has a quick turnaround and will take on Northeastern University Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Hockey East opener live on WGAM Radio 1250 and 900 AM and online at wgamradio.com.
The big road victory marks the first time Merrimack has beaten a team ranked in the top five nationally on the road under Mark Dennehy and is the first in program history on the road since beating UNH in Durham last year.
“The way our guys played in front of Sam (Marotta) tonight allowed him to see the puck clear and he played great tonight,” said Dennehy.
The Warriors also handed Union, which last year captured the ECAC Championship en route to an appearance in the Final Four, its first home loss in 11 games (9-0-2).
The visitors wasted no time as junior Rhett Bly (Regina, SK) notched the first goal of the season at 4:04 beating Troy Grosenick with a wrister from in between the circles. Bly, who scored twice in Merrimack’s Hockey East quarterfinal game two victory last year, took feeds from Dan Kolomatis and Tom McCarthy as Union outshot the Warriors 16-6 through 20 minutes. In his second collegiate start, Marotta held his ground early with 16 first-period stops, making a great glove stop off Daniel Ciampini just 2:42 into the game off a Warrior turnover. Twenty-one seconds after Marotta stopped a partial breakaway attempt by Matt Hatch, Myers put the Warriors back in front at 2:42 of the third with his first of two in the period. The sophomore nullified an icing with his speed and stuffed home a rebound past Grosenick off a feed from Shawn Bates.
Just 2:19 later, Myers struck again, getting a rebound off a John Heffernan shot and burying it for his first career two-goal game. Merrimack’s defense, which played with just five defenders for most of the night held from there, as Marotta turned aside all eight third-period shots. Kyle Singleton rounded out the scoring with an empty netter.
The Warriors killed all five Union power plays, as the Dutchmen held a 34-27 advantage in shots.