|Stephane Da Costa (photo: Merrimack College)|
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Stephane Da Costa has signed an entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators, the school announced Thursday. Da Costa, who forfeits his final two years of eligibility, is hoping to become the first Merrimack player since Matt Foy in 2007-08 to play in the NHL.
In two seasons at Merrimack, Da Costa tallied 90 points in 67 games, leading the Warriors’ transformation to the top tier of Hockey East and a top-10 national ranking. This season, he was second in Hockey East in points per game while earning All-New England and second-team Hockey East honors.
Da Costa likely will be in the lineup on Saturday when the Senators take on Toronto.
“We are proud of and excited for Stephane,” said Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy (Dorchester, Mass.). “He is a special player, but just as important a special person who had a huge effect on our program, the college and the community.”
As a freshman, Da Costa burst on the scene in his second game, becoming the first freshman in NCAA history to get a natural hat trick and score five goals as part of his first career goal. Leading the country in scoring among rookies with 45 points, he led the Warriors to the playoffs for the first time since 2004, earning NCAA and Hockey East Rookie of the Year honors.
Despite garnering interest from virtually every NHL team following his 2009-10 season, Da Costa elected to return to Merrimack for his sophomore season. He anchored Merrimack’s best team in its Division 1 history, picking up 31 assists and 45 points, as the Warriors won a school-record 25 games, and advanced to their first-ever Hockey East championship and second NCAA tournament.