Merrimack Coach Honored, Players Sign with NHL Affiliates
Mark Dennehy was named All-New England Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season; Merrimack seniors Chris Barton and Joe Cucci sign contracts.
Merrimack College hockey coach Mark Dennehy led the Warriors to 25 wins this season, a record for the school’s Division 1 history.
Yesterday Dennehy was announced All-New England Coach of the Year. It was the second consecutive season Dennehy was awarded the honor.
Dennehy lead the Warriors to other historic feats this season such as advancing to the team’s first ever Hockey East Final. With a convincing 4-1 victory against UNH at TD Garden, the Warriors advanced into uncharted waters.
In the Hockey East Final, however, Merrimack fell 5-3 at the hands of the Boston College Eagles.
Dennehy led Merrimack to its first NCAA Tournament in 23 years. In a stunning comeback, Notre Dame took down the Warriors 4-3 in a first round overtime thriller.
Da Costa, Stollery honored
Merrimack standouts Stephane Da Costa and Karl Stollery were also honored by New England All Stars.
Da Costa, a sophomore, was named to the Hockey East All-Conference second-team. For the second consecutive year, Da Costa led the Warriors in scoring. His 45 points this season were instrumental for Merrimack to have the success they did.
NHL teams have shown great interest in Da Costa. He may leave Merrimack soon enough to get some ice time at the pro level before the NHL season is over. Even Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has shown interest in the Merrimack College superstar.
Karl Stollery was an all-conference honorable mention. He was also an integral part of the Warriors’ squad as he led Merrimack in ice time throughout the year.
The Warriors’ captain Chris Barton ended his college career on a rough note with the first round loss to Notre Dame, but began his professional career yesterday.
Barton recently recovered from a hip flexor injury that allowed him play in the Warriors’ final game of the season in Manchester against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
Barton signed an amateur tryout contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers yesterday. The Tigers are an American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s New York Islanders.
In last night’s game against the Portland Pirates, Barton made his AHL debut. He did not make a splash on the score sheet but did enjoy the Tigers’ 2-1 win in his first game at the professional ranks.
He will be looking to improve on his game and earn a call up to the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Joe Cucci ranked third on the Warriors this season with 36 points as a senior. His ten power play goals were good for second highest in Hockey East this year. He potted a total of 14 goals on the season.
Yesterday, Cucci signed an amateur tryout contract with the South Carolina Stingrays, a team in the East Coast Hockey League. The Stingrays are an affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals.