Sophomore Joe Cannata picks up third career shutout with 42 saves

Joe Cannata made 42 saves for the Warriors

AMHERST, Mass. - Joe Cannata made 42 saves and Stephane Da Costa netted a goal and an assist as Merrimack completed a sweep of No. 18 UMass Hockey, 3-0 on Senior Night at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen (16-15-0, 11-13-0 HEA) have lost their last five games and currently sit in a tie for sixth place in the Hockey East standings, while the Warriors (13-15-1, 10-11-1 HEA) are unbeaten in their last five games. The Mass Attack will travel to Boston College next Friday night for a matchup with the Eagles at 7 PM.

Prior to Saturday's game, the Minutemen honored their five seniors, Justin Braun, Dan Meyers, Martin Nolet, Will Ortiz and Brett Watson for all of their work and dedication over the last four seasons.

Massachusetts outshot the Merrimack 44-22, as Dan Meyers made 19 saves for the Minutemen. UMass was 0-for-5 on the power play while the Warriors went 1-for-5 on the man advantage.

The Minutemen played a strong first period, dominating statistically by outshooting Merrimack 13-5 and holding a 13-8 edge in faceoffs, but neither team could find its way to the back of the net. UMass was awarded two power plays during the opening frame, and created several scoring chances during its man advantage, but Cannata and the Warrior defense were there to turn away each UMass power play opportunity. Although Merrimack was pinned in its own end through a majority of the first stanza, most of their scoring chances came from inside the slot, including one shot on the power play.

Although Massachusetts continued to fill the shot chart during the second period, but it was the Warriors who buried two goals during the frame to take a 2-0 into intermission. Danny Hobbs had a couple scoring chances in the first five minutes of the period when he rang two shots off the post, one redirecting past Cannata, but the referee waved the goal off to keep the game scoreless.

Merrimack took a 1-0 lead nine minutes into the stanza on Ryan Flanigan's third goal of the season. With Joe Cucci controlling the puck in the neutral zone, he found Jesse Todd at the right side of the ice. Todd then spotted Flanigan on the opposite side of the ice, fed him the puck, and Flanigan fired a wrist shot past Meyers. The Warriors netted an insurance goal four minutes later when Brandon Brodhag tapped in a shot from Cucci at the left faceoff circle off a pass from Stephane De Costa.

UMass continued to apply pressure throughout the third period, outshooting the Warriors 12-6 with several shots coming directly in front of Cannata. Merrimack refused to give in, however, as Stephane Da Costa scored his 14th goal of the season with 3:52 remaining in regulation to ice the game. Da Costa received a pass from Francois Quimet, and let a wrist shot go from atop the left faceoff dot that beat Meyers over his shoulder.