Cunti, Luca

Luca Cunti Gets Tryout with Bern

The Swiss HockeyBlog site is [url=http://www.blogticino.ch/~hockeyblog/]reporting[/url] that former Lightning forward prospect and 2007 3rd round pick [URL=http://www.boltprospects.com/luca-cunti]Luca Cunti[/URL] has secured a tryout with Bern of the Swiss elite league. After being drafted by the Lightning, Cunti came to North America with the intention of playing NCAA hockey for St. Cloud State University, but was eventually deemed ineligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse because of this previous Swiss junior hockey experience. Cunti then played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL before being drafted by Rimouski Oceanic in the 2008 QMJHL import draft. Cunti played the 2008-09 season for L'Oceanic before the Lightning relinquished their rights to Cunti this summer.

Luca Not in Lightning's Plans

BoltProspects has learned 2007 third round pick Luca Cunti is no longer property of the Tampa Bay Lightning. A club official has confirmed Cunti's rights have been relinquished by the team. Cunti, who can play both wing and center, is currently competing in the Traverse City, Michigan prospects tournament on a free agent tryout agreement with the Minnesota Wild.

Rimouski's Season Ends with Third Period Collapse

[b][i]N.A. Juniors Memorial Cup Game Night: 5/21[/b][/i] [b] Windsor Spitfires 6 vs. Rimouski Oceanic 4 [/b] (Tiebreaker) [i]W/C [b][url=/luca-cunti]Luca Cunti[/url][/b], RIM: 0-0-0,+1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG [/i] MemCup totals: 4 GP, 2-0-2, -2, 2 PIM Playoff totals: 13 GP, 4-5-9, -2, 12 PIM Season totals: 57 GP, 20-25-45, +10, 32 PIM Rimouski couldn’t hold on to a 4-2 lead entering the third period - giving up three quick goals to the Spitfires in just over 3 ½ minutes - and now their season and Memorial Cup experience is officially over. Cunti was rather quiet on the night, but did create some scoring chances with his vision and speed. He had at least one Grade A scoring chance when he broke in alone on Windsor goalie Andrew Engelage, but he failed to shoot quickly and had the puck knocked off his stick. Cunti’s first full season of play since his time in Europe two years ago started slowly, but when he got going, Cunti was a force offensively. He has a large mountain to climb to learn the physical, 2-way North American game that the Lightning would like to see from him, but he certainly has a foundation to work with. He is eligible to be signed and spend next year in the minors, but his next step remains up in the air right now.

Dominant Oceanic Falls in OT

N.A. Juniors Memorial Cup Game Night: 5/20

Drummondville Voltigeurs 3 vs. Rimouski Oceanic 2 (OT) (Round Robin)
W/C Luca Cunti, RIM: 1-0-1,-1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
MemCup totals: 3 GP, 2-0-2, -3, 2 PIM
Playoff totals: 13 GP, 4-5-9, -2, 12 PIM
Season totals: 57 GP, 20-25-45, +10, 32 PIM

Rimouski dominated the Volts – who had dominated them in a 4-0 playoff sweep weeks earlier – but they simply couldn’t figure out Volts goaltender Marco Cousineau (Ducks). Cousineau was outstanding in this game, making up for a very sub-par effort against Windsor the previous night.

Cunti scored the Oceanic’s opening goal when he darted through the blue ice and knocked a rebound under Cousineau. The 'Nics outshot the Volts 41-20 and out chanced them by a large margin, also. Gabriel Dumont (N.A. No. 153 for 2009 draft) scored the OT winner on one of the few Drummondville chances when he won the puck along the sidewall from Felix Lefrancois (undrafted, unranked), darted into the middle, eluding Rimouski’s top defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon (Flyers), who tried to knock him over but missed horribly, then proceeded to get multiple shots on sprawled-out Rimouski goaltender Maxim Gougeon (undrafted) while Cunti weakly attempted to tie up his stick. Dumont’s second shot went in over the outstretched arm of Gougeon, and Drummondville was sent on to the semifinals.

Rimouski (1-2) will play in a rematch with Windsor (1-2) – a hard-fought 5-4 Oceanic win days ago – in a tiebreaker game to produce the second semifinalist. NHL Network will have the game Thursday night.

For more on Cunti’s performance, see Pete’s blog.

Note: Current Bolt Vincent Lecavalier and Lightning Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards were honored before the game by the Oceanic for their contributions to the team. Former Lightning Michel Ouellet was also present for the ceremonial face-off. Richards' No.39 and Lecavalier's No.4 are hanging in the Rimouski rafters. Both are considered legends in the small Quebec hockey-heavy city. Richards won MVP as he led the Oceanic to a Memorial Cup championship in Halifax in 2000.

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