Maine Hockey Journal

The goalies stole the show

Orono, ME– It was a battle of two goalies that train with each other in the off-season. “We train together in Boston,” said Maine freshman goaltender Scott Darling. Merrimack’s coach was pretty impressed with his freshman netminder Joe Cannata.

“Solid. He’s a very athletic goalie. He was excellent playing the puck behind the net. The kid has a lot of poise. That’s the best part about a National Team (Development Program), they are college tested. They already played 18 college games, he’s use to it,” said Mark Dennehy.

Neither of them gave an inch as the two teams battle to a 1-1 tie Both. Francois Ouimet got Merrimack on the board just before the 14 minute mark of the second. Keif Orsini tied it at the 14:14 mark of the third stanza.

3:33 into the first period, Windham native Matt Duffy put Maine on the penalty kill when he was called for tripping. 10 seconds later, Gustav Nyquist was tripped by Fraser Allan. A minute into the 4 on 4, Rob Ricci got called for interference. Maine put shots on the freshmen netminder Joe Cannata but he stood tall.

Bryan Flynn gave Nyquist a nice drop pass but Nyquist shot the puck high. That was one of scoring chances that Nyquist had or created. “Guss had another good game. He’s very consistent for us. He’s a very creative player and is a competitor,” said Maine’s Head Coach Tim Whitehead.

Shortly there after, the puck was sitting in the deep slot for Maine but the Black Bears couldn’t get wood on the shot. A scary incident happened with 2:58 left when one of the linesmen was drilled into the boards. He need help getting off the ice.

15 seconds in the stanza, J.C. Robitaille went off for interference. Maine couldn’t get anything going on the man advantage. They had trouble getting the puck into the offensive zone. Maine was able to put pressure on the Merrimack defense. Joe Cannata once again came up huge to keep he game scoreless.

With 10:43 left in the second, Bryan Flynn went off for two minutes for interference. The Warriors had trouble getting pucks on Maine goaltender Scott Darling. The Warriors would break the ice at the 14:07 mark when Darling misplayed a bouncing puck and Francois Ouimet received a pass from Pat Kimball. Ouimet had an open net to shoot at.

Scott Darling explains what happened. “I tried to onetime it behind the net and kind off went off my stick too fast. I slid it too far (trying to get back in the crease),” said Darling.

Just under the two minute mark, Jeff Marshall went off for tripping. Nyquist had a shorthanded opportunity on the penalty kill. Once he settled in the offensive zone, he shot it wide past Cannata.

1:33 into the third, Grant Farrell went to the box. Maine had a great opportunity when Spencer Abbott couldn’t handle a pass. He had the net wide open. Josh Van Dyk had his shot block. Tim Whitehead thought Merrimack did a great job blocking shots.

“It was very frustrating but very impressive. To be able to keep pucks to the outside as they did it was great team defense,” said Tim Whitehead.

Abbott got another scoring chance when the Warriors were caught in a middle of a line change. He let a slap shot go but it went wide. If a goal was going to be scored, luck would be involved. Will O’Neil would fire a shot and it deflected off Kief Orsini’s stick. It found a hole through Cannata’s pads. Darling made a couple of key saves to keep it a tie game.

At the start of the overtime session, Simon Danis Pepin let a slapshot go but it hit the outside of the net. Cannata made an awkard looking save as Maine dumped the puck in and he made a save on one hop. Players got physical after the final buzzer. Adam Ross and Joe Loprieno of Merrimack and Tanner House and Will O’Neil all got two minutes for roughing.

“I thought cooler heads prevailed. The officials broke up and I thought they did a good job not throwing anyone out for next game,” said Whitehead. It was helping a teammate out said Keif Orsini. “I don’t think we got lucky. We are a great group of friends this year and we are going to stick up for each other during and after the game,” said Orsini.

Scott Darling made 23 saves on 24 shots and Joe Cannata made 16 saves on the 17 shots he faced. Both teams were 0 for 4 on the man advantage. The three stars were:

3. Joe Cannata (Merrimack)

2. Francois Ouimet (Merrimack)

1. Keif Orsini (Maine)

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