Peca, Matthew

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-29-16 Panthers at Lightning

Syracuse Crunch clamp down on Panthers B squad.

FLA-0
TB-2

Kristers Gudlevskis stopped all 21 shots he faced for the shutout victory. This is an excellent start for a netminder who just got a prove it contract who may have an NHL backup opportunity looming in his future once the Lightning sort out their starting situation up top.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
3:54 TB Morin (1), (unassisted)

Third Period
14:48 TB Point (2), (Morin, Bournival)

Gudlevskis, Jeremy Morin, and Slater Koekkoek were the game's three stars. Kudos to the Lightning equipment guys for having the sense of humor to stick Morin in #33. He's one letter away from being a Lightning all-timer. Made me double-take, for certain.

If the Lightning preseason opener was a showcase for the team's junior prospects, tonight was an opportunity for many prospects earmarked for the Syracuse Crunch. And, on first blush, I'd think new coach Benoit Groulx will be pleased with what he saw tonight.

Centers

Matthew Peca had 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 19:37. 90% on 10 draws is pleasing to the eye. I remain convinced that for Syracuse to go anywhere, Peca's going to have to become a big time AHL player. He'll have a little more help this season with Brayden Point in Syracuse, but as an older and more experienced guy, he's one I suspect needs to become one of the leaders for the Crunch.

Tanner Richard had 2 hits in 16:49. 13% on 8 draws is a little cringe-worthy stat line on draws. He's on the clock now to make a push and earn a look in the NHL. Not sure he really flashed enough tonight.

Brayden Point had his second goal in as many games and was +2 with 3 shots in 14:02. He was also 45% on 11 draws. The Lightning are already trying to tamp down expectations because they know Point needs seasoning and experience, but his raw talent is undeniable.

Wingers
Yanni Gourde had 2 penalty minutes and 2 shots in 16:58.

Mike Halmo had 4 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 hits in 11:48.

Gabriel Dumont had 3 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:57.

Defensemen
Daniel Walcott had 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:43.

Dylan Blujus had 3 shots and 4 blocked shots in 18:34. Blujus is a guy who somewhat falls into the same boat as Richard. He needs to start making a push to challenge Witkowski to become the Lightning's first righty callup from Syracuse.

Jake Dotchin was +1 with 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 17:48.

Slater Koekkoek was +1 in 16:40. The Lightning have played Koekkoek in both games, which is telling, but they've also resolved not to give him a gigantic load of minutes in these games as they might've been tempted to do. That tells me they're easing Koekkoek into a marathon rather than putting him through a sprint of a look-see.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-16-16 Comets at Crunch

Peca's first multi-goal game as a pro.

UTI-4
SYR-3 (OT)

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 33 shots for the OT loss.

First Period
UTI Zalewski, (15) (Gaunce, Valk), 0:18
SYR Thomas, (1) (Broll, Darcy), 4:58

Second Period
UTI Friesen, (14) , 14:10 (SH)

Third Period
SYR Peca, (7) (Walcott), 3:02
UTI Zalewski, (16) (Fedun, Gaunce), 6:00
SYR Peca, (8) (Tambellini, Tammela), 14:07

Overtime
UTI Gaunce, (16) (Zalewski, Fedun), 0:33

Matthew Peca was the game's third star. Ben Thomas also notched his first goal as a pro while "The Cobra" Jonne Tammela had his first North American pro point on a helper on Peca's second goal.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 4-3-16 Crunch at Comets

Syracuse crushes Utica, keeping extremely slim hopes alive.

SYR-7
UTI- 3

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the victory.

First Period
UTI LaBate, (9) (Hensick, Landry), 9:02 (PP)

Second Period
UTI Bancks, (14) (Hensick, Landry), 5:11
SYR Vermin, (7) (Peca), 7:04 (SH)
SYR Darcy, (4) (Taormina, Dotchin), 9:06
SYR Vermin, (8) (Peca, Taormina), 10:04 (PP)
UTI Friesen, (12) (Grenier, Fedun), 13:50 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Erne, (13) (Walcott, Blujus), 2:01
SYR Ikonen, (3) (Richard, Thomas), 3:39
SYR Tambellini, (25) (Peca), 17:56
SYR Tambellini, (26) (Thomas, McGinn), 19:18

Joel Vermin, Matthew Peca, and Jeff Tambellini were the game's three stars.

It's kind of remarkable that the day Jonathan Drouin sat out due to a lower body injury that the Crunch went and scored 7 goals.

Peca continues his strong late season charge, extending his points streak to 6 games with 1 goal and 10 points in that span. Going back to March 6th, he's got 1 goal and 16 points in a 13 game stretch, including 5 multi-point games. He's definitely throwing his hat in the ring to be the next Conacher/Johnson type in the Lightning organization.

Speaking of multi-point efforts, Ben Thomas had his first as a pro today. He's got 3 helpers in his first 4 pro games. He's been like found money thus far for Syracuse.

Unfortunately, despite the severity of today's whipping of the Comets, it still only counts as 2 points in the standings. That places Syracuse 6 points back of Utica for 3rd in the North Division with the Comets still holding a game in hand. Portland and Bridgeport maintain an 8 point gap on Syracuse in the crossover scenario, so it looks like catching Utica in the final 5 regular season games is the formula for the postseason. The Crunch do have 2 more head-to-head matchups against the Comets, but it's still going to be like threading the needle for the Crunch to make the playoffs.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-2-16 Americans at Crunch

Crunch playoff hopes evaporate against Rochester.

RCH-5
SYR-1

Adam Wilcox allowed 4 goals on 31 shots for the loss.

First Period
RCH O'Dell, (24) (Goulakos, Rodrigues), 19:10

Second Period
SYR Drouin, (11) (Peca, Taormina), 3:39 (PP)
RCH Bailey, (18) (Sdao, Donovan), 6:02
RCH Goulakos, (1) , 11:55

Third Period
RCH Bailey, (19) (Schneider), 15:19
RCH Baptiste, (12) (Catenacci, D'Amigo), 18:49 (EN)

Matthew Peca was the game's third star.

Syracuse came into this weekend with little or no margin for error, and they couldn't afford this little hard luck 2 game losing streak. They outshot Rochester 43-31 tonight, but the Americans have Vasilevskiy's old Russian national team tandem mate, Andrey Makarov, and he was the first star tonight.

At this hour, the Crunch are 8 points behind Utica for 3rd in the North Division with the Comets holding a game in hand and they're 8 points behind Portland with the Pirates holding a game in hand and Portland set to cross over from their division into Syracuse's spot in the postseason. Barring an absolutely epic collapse by one of those teams coupled with Syracuse just about running the table, that may be all she wrote.

Syracuse closes out their weekend against Utica tomorrow, after which we'll see if they try to use the handful of remaining games in the regular season on a bevy of potential junior ATO's.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 4-1-16 Marlies at Crunch

Streaking Crunch lose tight one to league's most talented team.

TOR-4
SYR-3

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the loss.

First Period
SYR Drouin, (10) (Thomas), 18:04
TOR B. Smith, (9) (Kolomatis, Leipsic), 19:00

Second Period
TOR B. Smith, (10) (Stanton, Doherty), 15:01
SYR Taormina, (13) (McGinn, Peca), 19:04 (PP)

Third Period
TOR Leivo, (17) (Arcobello, Brown), 6:56
SYR McGinn, (20) (Peca, Taormina), 14:36 (PP)
TOR Frattin, (12) (Leipsic), 15:28

Matt Taormina and Tye McGinn were the game's second and this stars.

Look at Toronto's lineup. Count the number of guys who have played in the NHL over the past couple of years. Look at their place in the standings. Then, realize the Crunch gave that team all they can handle. It points to a Syracuse team that has started to turn a corner and may be back on their way to being a very good team in the AHL. Unfortunately, at this time of year, there's no such thing as moral victories. The Crunch can't afford to spare any points in the short time left in the season if they'll have any chance of making the postseason. They're 6 points back of Utica for 3rd place in the North Division and 6 points back of Portland, which would crossover and take the 4th playoff spot in the North Division by virtue of the current playoff format. Both the Comets and Pirates also have a game in hand on Syracuse. So, it's going to just about take running the table for Syracuse to make the dance.

Matthew Peca, quietly, has 1 goal and 10 points in the last 10 games.

Ben Thomas got his first pro point on a helper on Jonathan Drouin's game opening marker.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 3-23-16 Crunch at Comets

No Drouin, no problem.

SYR-3
UTI-1

Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 1 goal on 29 shots for the victory.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
UTI Friesen, (10) (Sautner, Kenins), 4:12
SYR Erne, (12) (Richard, Gourde), 10:37
SYR Vermin, (6) (Peca, Martindale), 19:01 (PP)

Third Period
SYR Peca, (6) (Tambellini, Vermin), 19:45 (EN)

Joel Vermin and Gudlevskis were the game's first and second stars.

Jonathan Drouin was scratched for oversleeping and missing a pregame meeting, but through the contributions of others like Matthew Peca and his 1 goal and 1 assist, the Crunch overcame his absence.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Peca Makes Immediate Impact in Return to Crunch Lineup


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Matthew Peca knew exactly how much time he missed.

One day shy of five weeks on the shelf with an upper body injury, the Syracuse Crunch forward was counting the days until he could return. The 22-year-old scored on his first shift and finished with two points in a 3-2 win over Binghamton Friday, and added the game-winner in the shootout in a 5-4 victory over the Senators Sunday during a three-game weekend.

Peca made an immediate impact with his return and now he’s hoping to be a regular contributor as the Crunch make a push for the playoffs.

"I was just excited," Peca said of returning. "I felt in shape, I felt comfortable, and I knew my injury had healed so I was ready to get back. It didn't feel like I missed any time really."

AHL Game Night: 2-28-16 Crunch at Senators

Crunch steal a wild, improbable win.

SYR-5
BNG-4 (SO)

Adam Wilcox allowed 4 goals on 32 shots before stopping 4 of 5 in the penalty shot session for the 5-4 SO win.

First Period
BNG Puempel, (14) (Varone, Kostka), 1:19 (PP)
BNG Leduc, (8) , 3:46

Second Period
BNG Puempel, (15) (Akeson), 8:53

Third Period
SYR Blunden, (17) (Richard, DeAngelo), 5:42 (PP)
SYR Blunden, (18) (DeAngelo, Richard), 9:32 (PP)
SYR Vermin, (4) (Blujus, Dotchin), 15:26
BNG Kostka, (5) (Varone, Akeson), 19:11
SYR McGinn, (17) (Richard, Tambellini), 19:51

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- Blunden, Peca
BNG- Akeson

Mike Blunden and Tanner Richard were the game's first and third stars.

A 3 goals deficit in pro hockey SHOULD be a death sentence. Syracuse improbably erased a 3 goal deficit after 40 minutes only to see ex-Lightning property Mike Kostka put Bingo ahead with under a minute to go. Not to be deterred, Tye McGinn tied the game with under 10 seconds to go before Matthew Peca eventually put it away in the Shootout. When you cough up a 3 goal lead like that, it's emotionally devastating. When you come back and win a game by erasing one, it can be emotionally galvanizing. We'll see if the Crunch get a bounce off of this win.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 2-26-16 Senators at Crunch

Peca and hope return.

BNG-2
SYR-3

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 shots for the victory, in a one game cameo performance before heading back to Tampa Bay.

First Period
SYR Peca, (5) (McGinn, Tambellini), 1:04
BNG Hobbs, (2) (McCormick, Robinson), 5:39
SYR Koekkoek, (5) (Peca), 9:58
SYR Angelidis, (6) (DeAngelo, McGinn), 13:13

Second Period
BNG Robinson, (13) (Kostka, Fraser), 9:28

Third Period
NO SCORING

Matthew Peca, Vasilevskiy, and Tye McGinn were the game's three stars. Peca, playing in his first game in a little over a month due to injury, had 1 goal and 1 assist in the First Period alone. I don't want to overplay Peca like he's the second coming, but he's the type of player that Syracuse doesn't have much of: a skilled playmaking centerman. They've got lots of grit, but not guys that are creators who put pressure on the opposing defense. That's why Peca's so important to Syracuse and why I have a sneaking suspicion their nosedive over the last month and Peca's injury were highly related.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-16-16: Penguins at Crunch

Wilcox halts Pens' winning streak.

WBS-2
SYR-4

Adam Wilcox allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for the victory.

First Period
SYR Erne, (6) (Taormina, Tambellini), 11:31 (PP)
SYR McGinn, (14) (Gourde, Drouin), 12:20 (PP)
WBS Archibald, (5) (Simon), 17:39
SYR Blunden, (8) (Peca), 19:47

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
WBS Dea, (11) (Rowney, Uher), 4:47 (PP)
SYR Richard, (4) (Blunden), 19:39 (EN)

Wilcox, Matthew Peca, and Matt Blunden were the game's three stars.

Your nightly Drouinsanity update: 1 power play assist. Would like to see him shoot the puck more.

The Crunch's win stopped a 7 game winning streak that Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was on.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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