N. Andover, Mass. -- The line of Anthony Aquino, Marco Rosa and Nick Parillo combined for 11 points to help Merrimack (12-14-3, 5-10-2) to a 5-5 tie with No. 8 New Hampshire (16-7-6, 7-5-5). Aquino had a hat trick and recorded three of his five points in the third period for Merrimack in its second comeback tie of the season against UNH. Kevin Truelson finished with a goal and two assists for UNH in front of 3,022 at the Volpe Center.
Aquino had a hand in all five goals (three goals, two assists) becoming the first Merrimack player to record five points in a game since Greg Classen did it on Oct 15, 1999. It was the second hat trick of the season for Aquino and was the second game this season that he and linemates Rosa and Parillo combined for 11 points.
Joshua Prudden put UNH on the board 10:43 into the game when he tipped a shot by Eric Lind and the puck wobbled by Merrrimack goaltender Joe Exter. Truelson gave UNH an early 2-0 lead when he took the puck off the boards in the neutral zone, skated straight up ice and ripped one low that beat Exter on the stick side.
Merrimack then scored two goals in the final minute of the first period to tie it up. With 56 seconds to play in the first, Aquino fed defenseman Tony Johnson as he skated down the right side and Johnson flipped in the second score of his career. Just 23 seconds later, Aquino tied it up with assists going to Parillo and Rosa and the teams went into the first break knotted at two.
The second period saw UNH dominate play, scoring three goals and outshooting the Warriors 21-6 in the period. Garrett Stafford put the Wildcats back up right away, netting his fourth of the year just 1:17 into the second. Darren Haydar added his team-leading 14th of the year at the 3:29 mark to give the Wildcats a two-goal lead. After Exter made an impressive save off a rip from Truelson. Haydar was there to put back the rebound. Jim Abbott scored the third of the period for the Wildcats, netting his ninth at the 14:35 mark and UNH went into the final period with a 5-2 lead and held a 31-12 advantage in shots.
At the 4:27 mark of the third, Rosa found Aquino streaking toward the goal and the sophomore tucked the puck into the upper right corner of the net. Then it was Rosa’s turn. After receiving the puck from Aquino just past center ice, Rosa ripped one past UNH goaltender Ty Conklin for his sixth of the season. Aquino completed his hat trick at the 16:49 mark, netting the equalizer for his team-leading 15th of the season.
UNH finished with a 41-22 shot advantage for the game. Exter made 36 saves for the Warriors while Conklin stopped 17 for UNH.