STORRS, Conn. — Brown (6-4-2) used four different goal scorers to cruise to a 4-1 victory over Merrimack (7-12-2) in opening round action of the Toyota UConn Hockey Classic on Thursday afternoon at the UConn Ice Arena.
With the victory, the Bears improve to 5-0-1 over their last six games. After a period of scoreless action, the Bears took a 1-0 lead just 20 seconds into the second period when sophomore Brian Ihnacak scored on the power play. Senior Mike Meech sent the puck across the ice to senior Les Haggett, who was at the right faceoff circle and he centered the puck to Ihnacak, who was waiting in the slot. Ihnacak lifted the puck into the back of the net over Jim Healey’s right shoulder for the 1-0 lead.
Brown increased its lead to 2-0 at 4:52 of the second period when junior Rugo Santini beat Healey five-hole from the bottom of the right faceoff circle for his first goal of the year. Junior Joe Bauer and freshman Chris Poli each earned assists on the goal.
With 11:02 remaining in the game, Haggett gave Brown a 3-0 lead with his sixth goal of the year. Haggett and Ihnacak skated in on a two-on-one break, but Haggett kept the puck for himself, moved Healey, and slipped the puck past him and into the back of the net. Freshman Paul Baier and senior Gerry Burke each assisted on the goal.
Junior Cory Caouette scored his first goal of the year with 3:14 left to play to give Brown a 4-0 lead, knocking in the rebound of a shot from freshman Jeff Prough. Baier earned his second point of the night with an assist on the goal.
Merrimack ended freshman Adam D’Alba’s shutout bid with 2:19 left to play when Justin Mills slipped the puck into the net from the slot. It ended D’Alba’s consecutive shutout streak at 152:50, spanning over three games.
D’Alba finished with 23 saves for the Bears, who continue action tomorrow, Friday, December 31 at 4:30 p.m., when they face Holy Cross for the Classic Championship.