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Cannata Backstops Colorado to Kelly Cup

Merrimack alum Joe Cannata, one of the top goaltenders in the program’s Division I history who helped the team reach its first appearance in the Hockey East Championship Final back in 2011, capped off his best professional season with the Colorado Eagles by backstopping them to an ECHL title over the weekend.

Cannata, who made 32 saves in the Kelly Cup-clinching and winner-take-all Game 7 matchup against the Florida Everblades, was named the second star of the game in that 3-2 victory to wrap up what was his best year as a pro goaltender.

The Wakefield, Massachusetts, native finished the regular season with a 2.22 goals against average that ranked fifth in the league while going 21-5-1-1 in net. More impressively, his .931 save percentage led the entire ECHL. He was equally impressive in the playoffs, playing 24 games with a 16-6-1 record, a 2.55 GAA and a .913 SV%.

The Eagles won their second consecutive Kelly Cup championship by way of their win on Saturday, becoming just the fourth team in the ECHL’s 30-year history to win back-to-back titles. The 2018 Kelly Cup Finals marked just the fifth time in the ECHL’s 30-year history that the Finals series was decided in seven games. Colorado became the 18th team in ECHL history, and just the second in the Finals, to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3 games to 2.

Cannata, an All-American who earned Hockey East Goaltender of the Year honors while being named a Hockey East First Team All-Star, is the program’s all-time leader for wins, total saves, games played and minutes played and is among the program’s all-time leaders in goals-against average and save percentage.

A former sixth round NHL Draft selection by the Vancouver Canucks, Cannata has played professionally every season since 2011-12, playing the majority of his first five years in the American Hockey League (AHL). He also made five appearances with the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, in 2017-18, going 3-0-0 with a 1.84 GAA and .920 SV%.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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