Merrimack's Ricci, Watson Suspended
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. Merrimack sophomore forward Rob Ricci has been suspended for the entire 2006-07 season for an unspecified violation of team rules and school policy, according to second-year head coach Mark Dennehy.
Ricci was the Warriors' leading scorer last season as a freshman with 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points in 34 games. He was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team and figured to be one of Merrimack's key returning players.
According to Dennehy, Ricci is still enrolled in school and is taking classes this fall, and he will return to the team in the fall of 2007. With Ricci's suspension, Merrimack's leading returning scorer is senior Mike Alexiou, who had 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) last season. The leading returning goal scorer is Hank Carisio who had six goals and nine points in 26 games.
In addition, Dennehy also said Merrimack sophomore goaltender Pat Watson has been suspended for the first six games of the regular season, again for an unspecified violation of team rules and school policy. Watson appeared in 14 games last year for the Warriors with a record of 2-7-3, a 2.72 GAA and a save percentage of .920. Watson's two wins came over Vermont and Providence, and he also posted a tie against New Hampshire. Until Watson's return, the Warriors will use a goaltending tandem of senior Jim Healey and freshman Andrew Brathwaite.
Dennehy said the incidents regarding the two players were separate and unrelated. The violation involving Ricci took place in the spring, and it is unknown when Watson's violation occurred.
The Warriors finished last in Hockey East in 2005-06 with a record of 3-19-5, 6-23-5 overall, and missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season.