Luca Cunti is just happy to be here.
Wearing a St. Cloud State hockey T-shirt, on Tuesday he began his assimilation with the rest of the Huskiesâ€™ freshmen.
A forward from Switzerland, Cunti attended his first class earlier in the day, then was one of the first to arrive for an afternoon workout at the National Hockey Center.
While eight other incoming recruits started school last week, Cunti is a late addition. He committed in July and it wasnâ€™t until little more than a week ago that he made the decision and processed the necessary paperwork in an effort to begin college this year instead of in 2008.
Heâ€™s still waiting for clearance by the NCAA, but expects to be able to play when the team opens the season next month.
To read the rest of this story, see the St. Cloud Times.
The Lightning prospects finished dead last in the Traverse City prospects tournament today, losing the 7th place game to the Dallas Stars' prospects 6-5 in a shootout.
Goaltender Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on just 20 shots before surrendering 2 on 7 attempts in the shootout session. Helenius dropped to 0-2-1 for the tournament.
Mike Lundin paced the Lightning with a pair of goals including a dramatic talley with 2 seconds left in the game and the goaltender pulled to force overtime. Mitch Fadden and Stanislav Lascek each had 1 goal and 1 assist while tryout invitee Jason Reese chipped in 2 assists. Dusty Collins had the other Lightning goal. Ian Duval, Radek Smolenak, and Vladimir Mihalik added individual helpers.
Smolenak finishes the tournament as the Lightning's leader in scoring with 7 points in 4 games while Fadden, Lundin, and Mihalik all finish tied for second with 4 points each.
The Lightning prospects allowed 3 unanswered third period goals tonight to fall to the Atlanta Thrashers' prospects 6-4. The Lightning now finish the round robin phase of the tournament 0-3 and will play in the 7th place game.
Forward Radek Smolenak had 1 goal and 2 assists in the game to continue his track record of success at Traverse City. Center Mitch Fadden struck for 1 goal and 1 assist in the game for his first points of the tournament. Tryout forward Daine Todd and defenseman Vladimir Mihalik had the Lightning's other goals. Dane Crowley, Mike Lundin, and Chris Lawrence added individual helpers.
Netminder Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 37 shots before being pulled late in the game for the extra attacker.
Smolenak is now tied for 2nd among all scorers in the tournament. The Lightning and Stars prospects will face off tomorrow at 2 pm in the 7th place game.
Canada put the final touches on a masterpiece tonight beating the Russian U20 team 6-1 in the final game of the Canada/Russia Super Series. With the victory, the Canadians finish the series with an unbeaten 7-0-1 record. Lightning prospect Dana Tyrell was scoreless in the game. He finishes the series with 1 goal.
The entire tournament is archived online for viewing at HockeyWebcasts.com.
Denis Kazionov was scoreless in Novosibirsk's 2-1 overtime loss to Tver. Through 3 games, the younger Kazionov has 0 points, 2 penalty minutes, and an even rating.
Anton But was scoreless in St. Petersburg's 5-2 whipping of Togliatti. Through 3 games, But has 0 points, 2 penalty minutes, and a +1 rating.
Albert Vishnyakov was scoreless as Spartak was shutout 2-0 by CSKA. Vishnyakov has 1 goal, 2 penalty minutes, and an even rating through 3 games.
Evgeny Artyukhin had an assist, his first point of the season, in Omsk's 3-1 loss to Novgorod. R2 has 1 assist, 6 penalty minutes, and an even rating through 3 games. Former Lightning first rounder Alex Svitov is scoreless with a -1 rating through Avangard's first 3 games.
Earlier this week, Bolt Prospects was informed by the Lightning that 2007 third round pick Luca Cunti had been admitted to St. Cloud State University of the WCHA and he was set to arrive there Saturday. This is still confirmed.
However, the latest reports out of SCSU state that while he has been admitted, the coaching staff hasn't received the final okay from the NCAA that Cunti's eligible to play.
Considering Cunti is making the trek from Switzerland to join the Huskies, and his desire to play in North America this year is a priority (according to reports during the draft), it would seem that Cunti and his adviser, as well as the Lightning, have a pretty good idea final clearance may just be a formality.
Stay tuned. It appears this soap opera isn't over.
The Huskies are scheduled to begin their season at home October 12 against Canisius.
At the start of the week I blogged about a number of questions about the Lightning's prospects that would begin to be answered at the Traverse City tournament. Unfortunately, half way through the tournament, the early reviews are not good:
The Lightning prospects dropped a 3-1 decision tonight to the Detroit Red Wings prospects. The game was tied 1-1 after the first period and the Lightning prospects came out strong in the first half of the second only to come unglued after the Wings struck for a pair of quick goals. It was 3-1 entering the third and neither team was able to add to their totals.
Free agent tryout player and Medicine Hat Tiger Daine Todd had the Lightning goal. Vladimir Mihalik had an assist, his second of the tournament.
Torrie Jung stopped 22 of 25 shots in the loss.
The 0-2 Lightning next face the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday.
Stan Lascek played tonight and had 5 shots on goal after missing Game One against the Rangers. Unfortunately, his track record of futility in finding the scoresheet continues. Ian Duval also got into the lineup for the first time in the tournament.
RedWingsCentral has their box score and, more importantly for our purposes, tonight's lines and pairings. The Lightning kept their top two scoring lines largely in tact but shook up their defensive pairings. Lascek debuts on the fourth line as a center.
After having their hats handed to them for six straight games in the Super Series, Russia might consider Game Seven a bit of a moral victory. Without their star Alexei Cherepanov, who did not make the trip for the Canadian leg of the series due to injury, and after having been beaten handily in Game Five and Game Six, Russia played Canada to a 4-4 tie on Friday night. Lightning prospect Dana Tyrell was scoreless in the match.
The final game of the Super Series is slated for Sunday night.