March 24, 2011

#7 Merrimack Faces #9 Notre Dame in NCAA Tournament Saturday at 7:30 pm

MERRIMACK COLLEGE HOCKEY

Complete Playoff Coverage: NCAA Video Preview / Watch Friday's Press Conferences / Merrimack's Pregame Party Information / Playoff Central / Photos from Hockey East Tournament / Northeast Regional Central / Support Merrimack Athletics

NCAA First Round vs. Notre Dame: Watch live on CSN-NE (HD) and ESPN3.com / Watch at 11:30 p.m. on ESPNU-HD / Listen / Follow / Game Notes (.pdf)

Tonight's Matchup: Appearing in its first NCAA Tournament since 1988, Merrimack takes on Notre Dame in the first matchup between the two teams since 1991.

Lifetime vs. Notre Dame: Merrimack is 3-2-0 lifetime against the Fighting Irish and 0-1 as a Division I school.  The teams have never met in the postseason.

Merrimack 2010-11 Quick Hits:
-selected to NCAA Tournament for first time since 1988 and first ever as a HEA school
-finished fourth in Hockey East, its highest conference finish ever
-set school records for overall wins (25) and Hockey East wins (16)
-defeated every Hockey East team for second time ever and second straight season
-ranked nationally for first time ever, reaching fourth in the polls
-took season-series from eight of nine HEA teams (except PC)
-posted 14-2-1 home record behind 10 sellout crowds
-won 9 straight road games, most in school history
-won 7 games in January, setting school record for wins in a month
-has enrollment of 2,080, smallest among all Div. I hockey schools

Madness in Manchester
Merrimack earned the #2 seed in the Northeast Regional and will play at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, just 35 miles from its campus.

A Look at the Regional and Merrimack's NCAA Tournament History
Joining Merrimack in Manchester is top-seed and CCHA champion Miami (Ohio), who the Warriors last faced in 2001, #3 Notre Dame, who took 4th in the CCHA, and #4 UNH, who Merrimack defeated in the HEA Semifinals. Merrimack has played in the Div. I Tournament just once, in 1988, where they beat Northeastern in an aggregate two-game series, before falling to Lake Superior St. in the two-game quarterfinal series.

Let's Look Back Before We Look Ahead
Merrimack won its first-ever Hockey East semifinal game, defeating UNH 4-1, before falling to BC  5-3 in its first-ever HEA championship game at TD Garden.

Flanigan, Sheen, Madsen, Stollery Lead Playoff Scoring
Ryan Flanigan led all Hockey East players with five goals, nine points, and +9 in the HEA tournament in four games played. His linemates, Elliott Sheen (4g,3a,+7) and Carter Madsen (3g,4a,+8) tied for second with seven points each. Karl Stollery led all players in ice time and was tied for third among defenders with three points. Flanigan and Stollery were named to the Hockey East All-Tournament team.

Flanigan Fires up Game for Playoffs
Ryan Flanigan has taken his game to the next level in the playoffs, recording 9 points in 4 playoff games, and has 7 goals, 12 points and a +11 rating over his last six games.

Collins Named Hockey East Rookie of the Week
Mike Collins earned HEA Rookie of the Week honors after getting three points last weekend. Collins leads all Hockey East rookies with 30 points this season. Since January 1, he has earned 25 points in 21 games. Collins was an HEA All-Rookie team selection for his efforts.

Unbeaten Out of Conference This Season
The Warriors concluded non-conference play 6-0-1 in the regular season, winning their final six games. Merrimack did not play a CCHA school.

Sheen, Cannata Lead Merrimack to First-Ever Semifinal Win
Behind two goals from Elliott Sheen and 30 saves from Joe Cannata, Merrimack won its first-ever semifinal 4-1 over UNH, advancing to its first-ever title game.

Flanigan-Madsen-Sheen Line Lead the Way
Merrimack's most consistent line, the third line of Ryan Flanigan, Carter Madsen and Elliott Sheen led the way to the championship game, combining for 10 goals, 20 points and a +24 through the first two playoff rounds. Merrimack is 10-0 when all three pick up a point. Madsen notched his first career hat trick in the game 2 quarterfinal series clincher. Sheen had a career-high two goals against Maine in game 1 and against UNH in the semifinal win. The trio has played together all year and have a combined 73 points and a +55 rating.

Barton, Cucci, Da Costa, Stollery Lead Offensive Attack
Merrimack's offense, 2nd in Hockey East, is driven by Chris Barton, Joe Cucci, Stephane Da Costa, and Karl Stollery. Da Costa leads Merrimack with 44 points in 32 games, while Barton has 39 points. Cucci is tied for 3rd in HEA with 22 power play points and 2nd with 10 power play goals. Stollery leads the team in ice time and is 2nd among HEA defenders with 27 points.

Todd Among Hockey East's Most Clutch
Jesse Todd has a team-high 17 goals, and his six game-winners are 2nd in HEA.

Playoff Team Leaders
Merrimack led Hockey East with three short-handed goals and a +3 special teams net. They were tied for first in offense (4.50 goals) and power play (28.6%). They also led all teams with eight third-period goals.

Record Crowds
Merrimack played in front of the two biggest crowds in school history last weekend, 16,003 at the semifinals and 14,571 at the championship game.

Merrimack Reaches Garden for First Time Since 1998
Merrimack reached the TD Garden for the first time since 1998. The Warriors swept Maine 2-0 at Lawler Arena and beat UNH 4-1 in the semifinals.

First HEA Playoff Home Wins; First Playoff Wins Against Maine
Merrimack's two quarterfinal wins marked its first-ever home playoff wins since joining HEA and its first-ever playoff victories over the Black Bears.

There's No Place Like Home
Merrimack won eight straight at home to close the year, went 14-2-1 this season and is 26-5-2 since the start of last season. Lawler was sold out for 10 of 17 games this season.

Only Two Named All-Conference
Despite the best season in school history, Merrimack had just two all-conference honorees. Stephane Da Costa was a second-team selection while Mike Collins made the all-rookie team.

Strong in All Team Statistics
Merrimack ranks 2nd in offense, defense and power play in Hockey East and 3rd on the penalty kill. They rank 5th nationally in win percentage and 6th in scoring margin.

Fast Starters
Merrimack has outscored its opponents 47-26 in the first period and has the most goals of any Hockey East team in the first 20 minutes this season.

Merrimack Hosted Hockey East Quarterfinal for 2nd Time Ever
For the second time in school history and first time since 1997, Merrimack hosted a playoff series at Lawler and won its first-ever home playoff game.

Fabulous Freshmen Defenders
Brendan Ellis and Jordan Heywood both merited Hockey East All-Rookie honors. Heywood leads all Hockey East defenders with a +23 rating and also has 15 points. Ellis is tied for 4th among HEA rookie blueliners with 16 points.

Division I Hockey East Record 24 Wins, 35 HEA Points
Merrimack set a Division I HEA regular season record for wins with 24 and for points with 35.   
Cannata Winningest Goalie in Program's Div. I History
Joe Cannata picked up his 25th win of the year, extending his own Division I school record for career wins first set on Feb. 19 to 42. Cannata is 2nd with a 2.44 GAA and 5th with a .911 SV% among HEA goaltenders.

Barton, Cucci Form Dynamic Duo
Barton and Cucci have combined for 15 goals and 38 points in the last 15 games.

Barton Hits 100 Career Points
Chris Barton, who has 39 points this year, had points on the first eight goals on the weekend of Feb. 4-5. He is the 10th Warrior to reach 100 points in Merrimack's HEA history and first since Anthony Aquino in 2002. Barton has 119 career points in 140 games and ranks 5th in HEA in conference games with 33 points.

Collins, Cucci, Flanigan Among Stars in Providence Win
Mike Collins had three assists in the 6-1 win over PC, while Ryan Flanigan had two first-period goals, and Joe Cucci had two PP goals in a :22 span.

Sudden Death Success
Merrimack has won its last four OT games and is 4-0-4 this season. They have never won four straight OT games and haven't won four in a season since 1993-94.

Merrimack Earns First-Place Vote After Sweep of UMass
Merrimack, 5th in the country in winning percentage, earned its first-ever first-place vote in the February 21 USCHO poll.

Nine Straight on the Road is a School Record
Merrimack won nine straight road games from 11/30 to 2/18, most in program history.

Five Play all 38 Games
Joe Cannata, Karl Stollery, Jesse Todd and freshmen Brendan Ellis and Jordan Heywood have all played in every game this year.

Madsen's OT Goal Caps Late Comeback at UMass
Merrimack's magical run continued when the Warriors won their 9th straight away game on Feb. 18, scoring four times in the final 12:22. Joe Cucci tied it with 1:22 to play, and Carter Madsen won it 25 seconds into OT for the 4-3 win.  

Heywood's Career Day Leads to OT Win
Heywood scored 1:46 into OT on 2/12 against UNH and added assists on Merrimack's other two goals for a career-high three-point game.

Success Against the Best
Merrimack has picked up points in six of eight games against teams ranked in the top-7, going 4-2-2 this season.

Cannata, Heywood Earn Hockey East Weekly Honors
Joe Cannata was named Athletic Republic Player of the Week, his fourth weekly honor, and Jordan Heywood was named the Co-Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week for their play against UNH. Merrimack also earned HEA and College Hockey News Team of the Week honors after the sweep of UNH.

Ranking the Warriors' 11-Goal Night
The 11 goals scored against UMass are the most for a Merrimack team since it defeated BC 11-5 on Feb. 15, 1997 and are the most scored in any Division I college hockey game since Union had 11 on Feb. 5, 2010. It's also the most goals MC ever scored against UMass, and is the first time a HEA team reached double digits in goals since UNH had 10 against MC on Jan. 5, 2002.
 
Barton, Brodhag, Ellis, Heffernan, Ross Have Career Days
11 different Warriors had multi-point efforts in the UMass win, as Barton (5 points), Brandon Brodhag (3 assists), Brendan Ellis (1st career goal, 2 assists), John Heffernan (2 assists) and Adam Ross (goal, 2 assists) all had career days.

Cucci's Hat Trick Gives Merrimack Thrilling OT Win

Behind a hat trick and the game-winning goal with 28 seconds left in OT from Joe Cucci, Merrimack defeated Northeastern 4-3. For Cucci, the former Husky, it was his second-straight four-point game and his second career hat trick.

Back-to-Back Four Assist Nights
After Cucci notched four helpers vs. UVM, Barton followed with four against Northeastern. Merrimack's last four-assist performance was accomplished by Jeff Caron in December of 2004.

Flanigan Finding the Scoreboard
Ryan Flanigan has 27 points in his last 20 games and is fourth on the team with 32 points.

MC Posts Best Month since Joining HEA with UVM Sweep
The Warriors concluded a 7-1 January with their first-ever weekend sweep of Vermont. The seven wins are the most in a month since MC joined HEA.

Strong Combined Special Teams
After tying for first last season, Merrimack ranks sixth nationally and second in Hockey East in combined special teams.

Da Costa's Career-High Point Streak Ends at 12
Da Costa's career-high 12-game point streak was snapped on 1/28. He had 22 points in that span, including two game-winners. In HEA, Da Costa is 3rd in points and 1st in assists per game.

Collins' Hat Trick Leads to Rookie of Week and Month Honors
After netting his 1st collegiate hat trick and a career-high four points in the 7-1 win over UVM, Mike Collins was named the HEA Rookie of the Week and of the month of January. Collins completed January with 11 points in 8 games.

Scoring in Bunches
After never scoring seven goals in the first five years of Mark Dennehy's coaching tenure, Merrimack has scored seven or more five times this year, which is the most in a season since 1991-92.

Season-Series Triumphs over BU and BC
Merrimack captured the regular season series over both BU and BC for the 1st time in program history.

MC Wraps Up 2nd-Ever Season-Series Victory over BU
The Jan. 18 victory over BU sealed the second-ever season-series win over the Terriers and the first since the 2000-01 campaign. Merrimack went 1-0-2 against BU this year.

Sixteen Straight Polls and Counting
Merrimack has been ranked in 16-straight USCHO polls and 10-straight USA Today polls.  Merrimack was never ranked nationally prior to this season.

Cannata Gets First Shutout of Season Against UAH
Cannata stopped 24 shots for his 1st shutout of the season and 5th career. Cannata also was the HEA Defensive Player of the Month for October and runner-up for November, December, and January.

Merrimack Downs #9/11 Maine 7-1
Behind points from 12 players, including three each from Stephane Da Costa and Chris Barton, Merrimack routed #9/11 Maine 7- 1 on January 8.

Most Goals against Maine in 32 Years
The seven goals are the most the Warriors have scored against Maine since the 2nd-ever meeting between the two teams on Jan. 9, 1979 and are the most scored by Merrimack in a HEA game since Jan. 13, 2004 against UNH.

Madsen, Flanigan Lead Offensive Outburst Against UAH
Eight different players had three or more points against Alabama-Huntsville, including Ryan Flanigan and Carter Madsen who set career highs with three points each in the January 15 win. Madsen also scored twice for the first time ever. Todd led all Warriors with three goals and four points, while Jordan Heywood had 12 shots from the blue line.

Rookies Shine on NHL Ice in Nashville
Each of the six Merrimack freshmen that played against UAH had points in the 7-0 win. Jordan Heywood scored his first goal and posted his first multi-point game, Mike Collins had 3 points, while Rhett Bly and Shawn Bates each tallied a game-winner.

Making History Down South
Merrimack skated in the first two college hockey games ever played in Tennessee on January 14 and 15, playing UAH at the Bridgestone Arena.

Scoring in 3's
Against Maine, Merrimack struck for three quick goals twice, scoring three in 2:44 in the first period, while getting three in 3:22 in the third.

Merrimack Ends RIT's Home Streak with 5-3 Win
Behind the first career hat trick from Stollery and three points from Da Costa, Merrimack handed RIT its first home loss in 12 games dating back to Jan. 30, 2010 with a 5-3 win.

Stollery Nets First Hat Trick by Defenseman Since 1997
Merrimack's assistant captain became the first Warrior defenseman to register a hat trick since Darrel Scoville in an 11-5 win over BC on February 15, 1997. Stollery is the first HEA defender to net a hat trick since UMass' Marvin Degon on Jan. 7, 2006.

50 for Dennehy
The 3-2 win over Lowell was the 50th for Mark Dennehy as Merrimack's head coach.

50 Shots for First Time Since 1998
The Warriors rattled off 50 shots in the 5-3 win at RIT, the most in Hockey East this year, and the most by a Merrimack team since registering 57 against Maine on Jan. 9, 1998.

Merrimack Wins Series against National Champs
The Warriors captured the regularseason series from the Eagles for the first time since 1996-97, defeating the defending National Champion Boston College twice at home.

NU Win Gives Senior Class Points at All HEA Arenas
The victory at NU on 12/3 gave the senior class points at all Hockey East arenas. Merrimack entered that game 0-8-1 in its last nine at Matthews Arena, dating back to October of 2003.

Warriors Conclude November with 3-1 Win at Harvard
Merrimack concluded November with a 4-2-2 record after beating Harvard 3-1. Karl Stollery had two points while Stephane Da Costa netted the game-winner as they outshot the Crimson 39-15.

First Line Leads Warriors to 5-3 Win over Eagles
Led by six points from the top line, including three points from Da Costa, the Warriors downed BC 5-3 on Nov. 26 at Lawler. Jesse Todd and Joe Cucci also had multi-point games, while Joe Cannata stopped 24 shots.

Todd Named HEA Player of the Week After Hat Trick
After tallying his first career hat trick, Jesse Todd was named the HEA Athletic Republic Co-Player of the Week on November 22. Trailing 3-2 late in the third, Todd scored twice in a 1:43 span, winning the game with 37 seconds left in regulation.

Spreading Out the Scoring
Incredibly, 24 different Warriors have scored at least a point.

MC Sweeps UML in Weekend Series for First Time Ever
Merrimack earned its first ever weekend sweep of Lowell, defeating them 4-3 and 3-2.  Against the River Hawks, the Warriors have won three straight for the first time since 1977 and will win the season series for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

Stingy Defense
The Warriors allowed just 12 shots (one in the 3rd) against Lowell on Nov. 20, its fewest shots allowed in a game since Jan. 3, 2004 when Princeton managed just eleven.

Points Against #1 and #2
The Warriors have already earned points against the two top-ranked teams in the country this season. They tied #1 BU twice and defeated #2 BC on October 30.

Recent Success over BC
After going winless in 10 straight against BC at home, Merrimack has won three straight.

Defeating the Highest Ranked Team in Dennehy Era
Merrimack's win over BC marks the defeat of the highest ranked team under Dennehy. Merrimack has knocked off the defending National Champion in each of the last two seasons.

Non-Conference Home Winning Streak Reaches Nine
The Warriors are 9-0 in their last nine non-conference home games and 19-6-3 in their last 28 non-conference games.

Strong on Opening Night
Merrimack is now 7-1-2 in its last 10 home openers.

NHL Draftees
For the first time since 2002, Merrimack had two players selected in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Kyle Bigos was picked in the fourth round (99th overall) by Edmonton, while Joe Cannata was picked in the sixth round (173rd overall) by Vancouver.

Merrimack in 40+ Save Performances
Incredibly, over the last three seasons, Merrimack is 4-1-2 when its goaltender stops 40 or more shots. Joe Cannata stopped 40+ shots last season with his 42-save shutout effort at UMass. He stopped 40+ shots in the 2008-09 season when he recorded 44 saves at Army.

Camrose Connection
Chris Barton, Karl Stollery, and Jesse Todd all played junior hockey with the Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL. The trio helped Camrose to two straight AJHL and Doyle Cup Championships in 2006-07 and 2007-08.