Former VJW Junior A star Joe Cucci (Melrose Park, IL) is
enjoying another strong season at Merrimack College,
In his team's
recent showdown with Hockey East foe Northeastern, Cucci netted two
power-play goals in the third period and then scored the game winner
just 28 seconds into overtime to give his No. 12-ranked Merrimack team a
4-3 victory at Matthews Arena.
That impressive performance gave Cucci, who played for Andy Heinze's Junior A squad for two seasons, eight points in two games and 26 points this season.
third-leading scorer on the team, the senior Cucci has been a key cog for
Merrimack this year. In addition to picking up a program-record seventh
straight road win against Northeastern, the Warriors - just this past weekend -
moved into third place overall in the league standings with its 17th win, the
most in its Hockey East history.
Throughout his two-year VJW career, Cucci was a
dominating force in the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL). During the 2004-05
season, he led the EJHL with 29 goals and a league-leading 50 assists for 79
points. His second year brought much of the same domination as he served as
team captain and led the way with 29 goals and 24 assists.
After spending one year at Northeastern (see article below), Cucci
transferred to Merrimack where he has flourished since the 2007-08 season. A three-time Hockey East
All-Academic Team honoree, scored 51 goals during his first three years at
here to learn more about Cucci's performance and to see a video of his
thrilling overtime game winner! ... or see below for an article posted by the Eagle Tribune!
Former Husky delivers fatal bite
BOSTON — For a short while, Joe Cucci was a member of the Northeastern Huskies.
Now, he's the Huskies' killer.
Cucci potted three goals and an assist, including the
overtime winner, in last night's 4-3 win for the Warriors over
Northeastern at Matthews Arena, extending the Warriors' record to 16-5-4
on the season. The win ties a school record for Division 1 victories
set last season.
The Melrose Park, Ill., playmaker never played a game
for the Huskies before transferring to Merrimack midway through his
Considering Cucci's knack for scoring on his old mates,
Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin is unquestionably wishing he was
able to hold on to him.
In 12 career games, Cucci finished his regular-season
career with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) against the Huskies,
including six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in three games this season.
"I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel extra special,"
he said. "To do it here, in this building, felt great. This is one of
the reasons I wanted to come (to Northeastern) in the first place. The
atmosphere in (Matthews Arena) is awesome."
Both of Cucci's first two goals were on the power play and the Warriors went 2 for 6 with the man advantage.
Cucci has been an artist with time and space all season, sitting second in the league with 12 power-play points in 17 games.
"We made a few adjustments (on the power play)," Cucci
said. "Our power play has been good all year. (Northeastern) will
pressure down low but leave you alone up top."
The game-winner came with the teams even, when he sent a
fluttering wrister at Northeastern netminder Chris Rawlings. The
sophomore tried to make a save with his shoulder but it grazed his
padding and hit the top of the net before falling in behind the goal
"I didn't even realize it went in at first," said
Cucci, who has scored four points in back-to-back games. "I saw Barts
(Chris Barton) jump up."
It's Cucci's first multi-goal game of the season, and
first since he scored a hat trick last season against UMass at Lawler
Arena. Normally, he's a pass-first player, who has helped set up the
likes of Chris Barton and Merrimack's other scorers.
"Pass first is his instinct," said head coach Mark
Dennehy. "We talked to him about shooting more because teams will start
to play off you. Hopefully it continues."