Slater Koekkoek is confident about his path to the National Hockey League.
Despite a shoulder injury prematurely ending his final junior season, Koekkoek led the Windsor Spitfires' blueline in goals, assists, and points last season. But the Tampa Bay Lightning 2012 first-rounder is focused on rounding out his defensive game as he begins his professional career with the Syracuse Crunch.
"There's always pressure being a first round pick. It's a label and people are going to talk about it," Koekkoek said. "But everybody has their own road to the NHL. There's a lot of guys in the NHL that went after me, and there's some guys still not in the NHL that went before me. There's no timetable. I'll develop as fast as I can, and hopefully get called up whenever they need me."
Connecticut Huskies 4 vs No. 15 Quinnipiac Bobcats 1
F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 4 GP, 1-5-6, -4, 0 PIM
2014-2015 totals: 40 GP, 12-26-38, +4, 16 PIM
Quinnipiac (1-2-1) continues to struggle to start the year, this time dropping a 4-1 decision to their in-state rivals. On the plus side, Matt Peca has had at least a point in every game so far this year. The Bobcats outshot the Huskies, 37-19, but were stymied by Dallas-born Rob Nichols (undrafted), who also contributed an assist for UConn. The game was played in Bridgeport.
Lightning scratch out 2 critical points at altitude.
Evgeny Nabokov allowed 1 goal on 22 shots for the OT win in a classic duel with Bolt Prospects Alumni Karri Ramo.
1:12 CGY Wideman (3), (Gaudreau, Russell)(PP)
17:44 TB Filppula (1), (Garrison, Drouin)
3:00 TB Palat (2), (Stralman, Johnson)
Nabokov and Ondrej Palat were the game's first and third stars.
As disappointing as the effort was against Edmonton, you have to give a ton of credit to the guys tonight for fighting back late on the back end of a back-to-back at altitude to get the 2 points. That's impressive, and that showed heart from a team that had theirs questioned after the previous night's debacle.
If you look at our time-honored 12/10 formula (12 points in every 10 game segment), there is a tremendous difference between sitting at 9 points through 7 games and sitting at 7, because the Lightning can go .500 the rest of the way in the segment and hit their minimum target rather than having to rake in 5 of the last 6 possible points. Tonight was huge when you consider that, and how important it is to stay on schedule early in the year.
Jonathan Drouin had his first NHL point, a helper, and was +1 with 1 shot in 19:57. It took a whopping two games for him to make his way onto a scoring line. What took him so long?
Vladislav Namestnikov was 40% on draws and had 1 shot in 11:49 of ice time.
Cherepovets 2 vs. Magnitogorsk 1 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, SO Loss, 30/31, 0.92 GAA, .968 sv%
Season totals: 19 GP, 12-2-3, 2 SO, 1.55 GAA, .944 sv%
Vasily Koshechkin went 0-for-3 in the shootout, including surrendering a goal to ex-Lightning pick Marek Kvapil in the penalty shot session, in Magnitogorsk's 2-1 loss to Cherepovets.
We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Bolt Prospect of the Week for October 21, 2014 is … Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL – USA).
#Soon became #Now this week when the long-awaited arrival of Jonathan Drouin finally happened. The Lightning’s top-rated prospect made his NHL debut on Monday night in Edmonton, creating several scoring chances in what was an overall sloppy team loss for the Bolts.