NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) was named MVP of the Merrimack hockey team, while Jordan Heywood (Regina, SK), Kyle Bigos (Upland, CA), and Brendan Ellis (Kelowna, BC) were named captains for the 2012-13 season at the annual team banquet Tuesday at the Andover Country Club.
In addition, the 2012-13 confirmed schedule to date was released, which includes 34 of a possible 36 regular season games, beginning October 6 at Union, who reached the Frozen Four last season.
After selling out 15 of 17 home games at Lawler Arena in 2011-12, most in school history, Merrimack will host at least 18 regular season home games, including non-conference games against Colgate, Harvard, and Army, in addition to an exhibition game against the U.S. Under-18 Team.
Fans interested in season tickets should call the ticket office at 978-837-5324 or email at email@example.com. All season ticket packages will be released when the home schedule is finalized later this month.
Hosted by Eric Frede of Comcast Sports New England, Merrimack honored its senior class at the banquet, which will graduate as the most successful class in its Division I school history and the first to finish with a winning record.
Cannata became the first-ever All-American goaltender in school history and was the first first-team all-conference selection since 1994. A two-time Hobey Baker nominee, Cannata is Merrimack's all-time leader in wins, games played, minutes played, saves, goals against and save percentage and allowed just 27 even strength goals in 27 league games. He appeared in 36 games as a senior, posting a 17-12-7 record, with a 2.18 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage.
Captain Karl Stollery (Camrose, AB) earned the Top Defensive Player Award for the second straight season as well as the Warrior Award. A second-team Hockey East all-star, Stollery led Merrimack in ice time and led Merrimack defensemen in scoring with 21 points, while departing the as the program's all-time Division I or II leader in games played.
Senior Jeff Velleca (Waterbury, CT) won the Unsung Hero Award. Velleca was the lone Merrimack forward to play in every game this season, tallying ten goals, including the game-winner as time expired at UMass in February.
Connor Toomey (Billerica, MA) won the Rookie of the Year award after leading Merrimack newcomers in goals (7) and points (16). Toomey scored both goals in a 2-2 tie at Boston College in January and scored the game-winner in overtime, his first career goal, at Boston University in November.
Simon Demers (St. Etienne de Lauzon, QC), who appeared in the final 13 games of his senior season after playing just 15 in his first three seasons, earned the Strength and Conditioning award.
Merrimack finished the season with its second-best Division I record ever, earning a 18-12-7 mark, 13-9-5 in the league. The Warriors were ranked nationally all season for the first time ever and were ranked #1 for the first time in program history for two weeks in November after starting the season 9-0-1.