Former VJW Junior A Star Cucci Shines in Hockey East Battle
Although Merrimack College's hopes for a Hockey East title were foiled on Sunday by Boston University, one player did all he could to keep the excitement going!
On Saturday, former VJW Junior A standout Joe Cucci netted the game winner just 2:16 into overtime against the Terriers at Agganis Arena to give his team a 3-2 victory and force a decisive game three.
Cucci’s goal, the first playoff overtime goal in Merrimack’s Hockey East history, was set up by Ryan Flanigan (Rochester, NY), who broke down the right side and threw it to the center. The puck eluded the Terrier defender, and Cucci was right there to slam it home for his eighth of the year.
“I just went to the net and Flanny (Flanigan) found me coming down the boards,” said Cucci. “It’s definitely the biggest goal of my career.”
The victory was Merrimack’s first in 11 tries at Agganis Arena and the first at BU since March 2, 2001. It was also the Warriors’ first playoff win since March 15, 1998, when Merrimack sent the Terriers packing in three games in the quarterfinals.
Following a two-year stellar career with the Warriors, Cucci, the junior finance major from Melrose Park, Illinois, continued where he left off by becoming an integral part of Merrimack College's offense. This past season, Cucci played in all 35 games and finished third in scoring with eight goals and 15 assists.
While with the Warriors, Cucci led the team in goals (29) and assists (24) for a total of 53 points in 2005-06. He also served as team captain and finished tied for the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) lead in shorthanded goals with four and game-winning tallies with seven. One year earlier, Cucci led the EJHL with 29 goals and a league-leading 50 assists for 79 points.