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Peca Officially in the Fold

(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Matthew Peca to a two-year, two-way contract for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Additionally, Peca has signed an AHL amateur try out contract to play the remainder of the 2014-15 season with the Syracuse Crunch.

Peca, 21, skated in 39 games this season with Quinnipiac University, recording seven goals and 36 points to go along with 27 penalty minutes. He ranked first on the Bobcats and third in the ECAC with 29 assists. Peca also ranked second on the Bobcats for points and served as captain of the team during his senior year.

The 5-foot-8, 155-pound forward played in 157 career NCAA games, all with the Bobcats over four seasons, registering 42 goals and 143 points to go along with 91 penalty minutes. Peca led the Bobcats for assists in three of his four seasons with the team. He set a school record with a six-point effort during his junior season on February 28, 2014.

Peca was originally selected by the Lightning in the seventh round, 201st overall, at the 2011 NHL Draft.

BP Commentary: Finally. From the fight over Peca’s junior hockey rights (among four teams) on through his senior year at Quinnipiac, we’ve been following Peca’s impressive career. Sometimes stats tell the story on a player, but Peca doesn’t fall into this category. Like Ryan Callahan, Peca is a leader on and off the ice and does so many little things to help a team win – often sacrificing body parts and personal stats – that his coaches likely have Matt Peca custom Fatheads on their man cave walls.

He put up good numbers, but the team played a defense-first system reliant on the transition game. Peca also played in a checking role when required. As a 4-line forward, he was able to do whatever was asked.

Prospect of the Week: 4-1-15

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 April 1, 2015 is … Cameron Darcy, C, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL – Canada).

The QMJHL’s second season started last week and Cameron Darcy began with a bang.

The Lightning’s seventh round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft had a hat trick and five points in Game 2 of Sherbrooke’s first round series against Charlottetown. The Phoenix had lost the first game by a large margin and were sitting on the cliff of falling down 2-0 in the series at home. Darcy was named the game’s first star.

The Boston native followed up his Game 2 performance with two more goals in Game 3, a loss by the Phoenix on Prince Edward Island. His two goals gave him five goals and seven points in two games, and our Bolt Prospect of the Week award.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 3-31-15

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
First round

QMJHL-4 Quebec Remparts 5 @ QMJHL-13 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 6
Cape Breton leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

W Adam Erne, QUE: 1-1-2, -2, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 9/9 FO, 2 Hits
Playoff totals: 3 GP, 2-1-3, -1, 4 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 41-45-86, +21, 102 PIM
2013-2014 Season: 48 GP, 21-41-62, -3, 65 PIM

Quebec fought back from 4-1 and 5-1 deficits to tie the game, only to lose it on a late goal by the Eagles. The heavily favored Remparts are in danger of falling two games behind Cape Breton in the series when the teams play again Thursday.

Ontario Hockey League
Western Conference Quarterfinals

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 @ West-8 Saginaw Spirit 0
Sault Ste. Marie leads best-of-7 series, 3-0

D Anthony DeAngelo, SOO: 0-0-0, +2, 4 PIM
Playoff Totals: 3 GP, 0-3-3, +4, 4 PIM
With SSM: 26 GP, 15-36-51, +33, 51 PIM
With Sarnia: 29 GP, 10-28-38, +1, 64 PIM
Season totals: 55 GP, 25-64-89, +34, 115 PIM
2013-14 totals: 51 GP, 15-56-71, -34, 90 PIM

Anthony DeAngelo failed to register a point for the first time in 27 games and only second time since joining the Greyhounds. The team got the road win, however, and the Hounds can close out the series Thursday.

Note: Dominik Masin (Peterborough) is out for the season due to injury.

Western Hockey League
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

East-3 Calgary Hitmen 8 @ East-6 Kootenay Ice 7
Calgary leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

D Ben Thomas, CAL: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 3 GP, 0-2-2, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 7-24-31, +16, 28 PIM
2013-14 totals: 72 GP, 7-24-31, +11, 39 PIM

Calgary’s Adam Tambellini (New York Rangers) scored his second overtime winner of the series to lift the Hitmen to an 8-7 win Tuesday and a 2-1 series lead. Kootenay scored with four seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Ben Thomas was scoreless for the Hitmen.

NHL Game Night: 3-31-15 Lightning at Maple Leafs

The needle hits E in Toronto.

TB-1
TOR-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the loss. He wasn't the reason the team lost, but one or two semi-soft goals definitely made the sledding a lot more comfortable for Toronto. In a game like this, the Lightning really needed Andrei to be flawless.

First Period
8:53 TOR Kadri (17), (Lindstrom, Brennan)(PP)
12:03 TOR Booth (7), (unassisted)
18:04 TB Callahan (23), (Palat, Kucherov)(PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
0:24 TOR Rielly (8), (Kadri, Gardiner)

Shots were 41-28 Lightning, so I'm not going to say the Lightning were somehow dogging it or that they had a let down in a trap game. I just think they almost emptied out the tank against Montreal, so they simply couldn't muster the same intensity level and didn't have the extra gear against Toronto. Not with all the injuries they are trying to work through, anyway. And, the Leafs got a great performance from Reimer, which compounded things.

I hate to see the Lightning's division title hopes in peril like this, on the one hand. On the other, I don't want to see this team dead dragging tired going into the opening round of the playoffs, either. It's a boon to be able to get Bishop some rest like he did tonight, and it might also be a silver lining if circumstances allow them to take their foot off the gas the last couple of games of the year and give guys like Palat and Paquette a little more time off to get right for the postseason, on top of all the guys who are already on the shelf.

Slater Koekkoek was -1 with 2 shots in 15:31. Didn't look horribly out of place, and the old Joe Reekie number looks good on him. Thought he showed as advertised. I feel like he'll challenge for a roster spot in the Fall, and his progress will be very important for the success of the team next year. You figure he'll either make the squad or be the first call up from Syracuse if he doesn't make it.

Luke Witkowski had 2 shots, 6 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 16:50. 3 giveaways is a little bit of an ugly number, but all in all he handled the extra workload reasonably well.

Nikita Nesterov was -1 with 5 shots and 2 hits in 22:11. The minutes don't lie. He's the guy the coaching staff turned to in order to fill the gap, and I suspect they're not at all displeased.

Vladislav Namestnikov had 1 shot and 1 hit in 15:12 and was 56% on draws. He's 2 games from graduation from prospect status on the site.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

What to Expect from Slater Koekkoek

The Tampa Bay Lightning recalled defenseman Slater Koekkoek from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Koekkoek, 21, has skated in 66 games with the Crunch this season, posting five goals and 24 points to go along with 40 penalty minutes. He leads all Syracuse defensemen for assists (19) and points. The Mountain, Ontario native also ranks tied for fifth among AHL rookie defensemen for points. Koekkoek made his professional debut on October 12, 2014 against Hartford.

The 6-foot-2, 197-pound defenseman skated in 195 career Ontario Hockey League games over four seasons, recording 33 goals and 123 points. Koekkoek set career highs for goals (15), assists (38) and points (53) in his final OHL season in 2013-14 with the Windsor Spitfires.

Koekkoek was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 10th overall, at the 2012 NHL Draft.

What to expect:

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