Hershey, PA – The Hershey Bears have been carrying three goalies for two weeks now. Today that changed as the Bears announced that Joe Cannata has been re-assigned to ECHL South Carolina. The 27-year-old netminder has appeared in 21 games for Hershey this season going 10-5-4 with a 3.24 goals against average and .875 save percentage.
Head coach Troy Mann repeatedly stressed how the team needed timely saves from Cannata and he wasn’t giving it to them. His last nine appearances proved to be the last straw. During that nine-game stretch, Cannata went 2-4-1 with an ugly 0.847 sv%. With the team sliding out of the top of the Atlantic Division, Parker Milner was recalled from South Carolina on February 3rd.
Milner is taking his opportunity and running with it as he has won all three of his starts with the Bears. He’s been exactly what the doctor ordered with a 1.99 GAA and .938 sv% in four appearances. As a result, Cannata has not seen game action since January 22, a game in which he allowed five goals at home against Lehigh.
Hershey’s NHL affiliate, the Washington Capitals, signed Joe Cannata in the offseason intending him to be the team’s emergency goalie option. He was slated to carry the majority of the starts in Hershey and get the recall should an injury in Washington require one. Gradually however, his goaltending partner Vitek Vanecek began to outplay him. He lacked consistency and then completely fell off the map as the Bears suffered key loses on their blue line.
Cannata has fallen out of favor but he needs live game action to regain any sort of confidence. For now, that means a stint in the ECHL with the South Carolina Stingrays. It remains to be seen whether he can regain his standing with Hershey brass. If Milner keeps it up, it will be a tough road back.