On College Hockey Mike McMahon
---- — Members of the NHLPA aren’t the only ones feeling the sting of the ongoing NHL lockout.
With an influx of players taking to the minor leagues and Europe while the NHL sits stagnant, young up-and-comers are relegated to lower levels of hockey.
Merrimack grad Joe Cannata, an All-American last season, looked as if he was going to be the starter for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. It seemed apparent that the parent club, the Vancouver Canucks, were going to deal starter Roberto Luongo, bumping former Phillips and BC star Cory Schneider into the starting role. That would have meant that last year’s Chicago starer, Eddie Lack, was likely destined for the NHL as a backup to Schneider.
But thanks to the lockout, plans changed.
Rosters are frozen, meaning Luongo hasn’t gone anywhere. Lack, who is still eligible to be sent to the AHL, is back in Chicago as a starter and Cannata, instead of wasting away on the Chicago bench, had to move to Kalamazoo, Michigan where he’s suiting up for the K-Wings of the East Coast Hockey League.
For non-hockey buffs, that’s the equivalent of moving from Triple A to Double A in baseball.
And he’s not the only one.
Ryan Flanigan was picked up by the AHL’s Connecticut Whale. A few weeks into the season, he was pinched out of a roster spot and sent to Greenville (ECHL) before it happened again; he’s now with Wichita of the Central Hockey League, in essence Single A.
Chris Barton and Jesse Todd, two of Merrimack’s most prolific scorers of the last five years, are certainly capable of AHL slots as well, but they’re both in the ECHL waiting for roster spots to open.
One who has stuck, however, is defenseman Karl Stollery.
Stollery graduated from Merrimack last spring after setting records for the college as a scoring defenseman.
In six games with Lake Erie (AHL) this season, Stollery has there points (1 goal, 2 assists) and had seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in nine games with the same team last season after Merrimack’s season ended.
Stollery is logging big minutes, including time on the power play, which comes as no surprise to Merrimack fans.
Stollery’s commitment around the Merrimack campus was legendary. Bad food? He didn’t eat it. Alcohol? He didn’t drink it.
He’s just 5-foot-10, but good luck trying to move him on the ice, he’s a boulder on skates.
In all, 20 former Merrimack players are skating somewhere in the world this winter, including 11 in European leagues.
Sacrifice the body
A longtime staple of a style the Warriors dub “Merrimack hockey” is shot blocking.
Through six games, they haven’t disappointed.
Merrimack players have blocked a total of 76 shots, averaging 12.67 per game. Sophomore defenseman Dan Kolomatis has a team-high nine blocks while Tom McCarthy, Jordan Heywood, Sean Robertson, Kyle Bigos and Mike Wills each average at least one shot blocked per game or more.
For more college hockey follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcMahonET or read his blog themackreport.com
Warriors in the Pros Chris Barton, Wheeling (ECHL) Simon Demers, Riviere du-Loup (LNAH) Karl Stollery, Lake Erie (AHL) Jesse Todd, Reading (ECHL) Adam Ross, Wheeling (ECHL) Ryan Flanigan, Wichita (CHL) Stephane Da Costa, Binghamton (AHL) Derek Pallardy, Columbus (SPHL) Joe Cannata, Kalamazoo (ECHL) Scott Drewicki, Stony Plain (Chinook) Mike Vaskivuo, Grenoble (France) Matt Foy, Eisbaren (Germany) Jordan Fox, Nottingham (England) Pat Bowen, Dundee (England) Anthony Aquino, Valpellice (Italy) Francois Ouimet, Grenoble (France) Bryan Schmidt, Starbulls (Germany) Rob Ricci, Herning (Denmark) Greg Classen, Kolner (Germany) Marco Rosa, Blues (Sweden) ## Tale of the Tape Merrimack vs. Northeastern Category Merrimack Northeastern Record 2-3-1 2-2-1 Head-to-head 0-1-0 1-0-0 Goals For 3.17 2.00 Goals Against 3.17 2.00 Power Play 20.7 4.3 Penalty Kill 75.9 71.4