Witkowski, Luke

Richard, Witkowski Join Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

It's all still sinking in for Tanner Richard.

After finishing up his first practice with the Syracuse Crunch Wednesday afternoon, the 2012 third-rounder -- one of two draftees signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday -- was just beginning to take in his new surroundings.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook since Monday,” Richard said. “It just doesn't stop beeping. Every time I look there's 15 or 20 messages from Facebook and Twitter and everything. Honestly, I'm trying to soak it all in and have a good time."

Richard wasn’t the only fresh face getting acquainted to a new team at the Onondaga County War Memorial. Defenseman Luke Witkowski (pictured), a sixth-round pick in 2008 who finished up his senior season at Western Michigan University, also donned a Crunch sweater for the first time.

Lightning Sign Defenseman Luke Witkowski

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Luke Witkowski to a two-year contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Witkowski, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, appeared in 38 games as a captain with the Western Michigan University Broncos in 2012-13, recording two goals and 10 points to go along with 46 penalty minutes while being named Second-Team All-CCHA. He led the Broncos with 53 blocked shots and ranked second for penalty minutes. Witkowski also added two power-play tallies.

A native of Holland, Michigan, Witkowski played in 152 games during his four-year career at Western Michigan. He accumulated seven goals and 38 points with 235 penalty minutes. He won the 2010-11 Bill Saunders Plus/Minus Award for finishing with the Broncos’ best plus/minus rating at plus-13.

Prior to attending Western Michigan, Wikowski played for the Fargo Force and the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets of the USHL. He amassed nine goals and 26 assists in two USHL seasons. Witkowski was named to the 2009 USHL All-Star Team.

Witkowski was drafted by the Lightning in the sixth round, 160th overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Since being drafted he has attended four Lightning Development Camps.

NCAA Game Night: 2-16-13

Cornell Big Red 2 @ Harvard Crimson 2

D/W Kirill Gotovets, COR: Did not play
Season totals: 21 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 12 PIM

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 23 GP, 4-11-15, +1, 10 PIM

Harvard extended their unbeaten streak to four games with a tie against the Big Red.

Clarkson Golden Knights 1 @ No. 1 Quinnipiac Bobcats 2

F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM, 4 SOG
Season totals: 27 GP, 9-10-19, +7, 30 PIM

Quinnipiac returned to their winning ways, hanging on to beat Clarkson, 2-1. The Bobcats had their 21-game unbeaten streak snapped on Friday against St. Lawrence. With the win, the Bobcats clinched the Cleary Cup as ECAC regular season champions for the first time in school history. According to a USCHO recap, no Bobcat player touched the trophy at the presentation. Matt Peca had an assist, but nearly had a goal as he was stopped on a breakaway after leaving the penalty box.

No. 6 Western Michigan Broncos 3 @ Ohio State Buckeyes 6

D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 32 GP, 2-5-7, -7, 40 PIM

A very atypical night for WMU, who allowed four second period goals en route to a 6-3 loss in Columbus. The Broncos, under former NHL coach Andy Murray and with one of the best defensive corps in the country, are known for limiting shots and rarely giving up more than two goals. This was the seventh time in 26 games they’ve allowed more than two goals.

Undrafted junior Alex Szczechura, brother of former Bolt Paul Szczechura (pictured), had a hat trick and four points for OSU. Paul is currently in the KHL with Dynamo Riga. He has eight goals and 25 points in 40 games so far this season. Ironically, Paul went to Western Michigan.

*USCHO poll used

NCAA Game Night: 2-15-13

Cornell Big Red 4 @ No. 17 Dartmouth Big Green 2

D/W Kirill Gotovets, COR: Did not play
Season totals: 21 GP, 0-0-0, +1, 12 PIM

Cornell snapped their seven-game losing streak, defeating Dartmouth, 4-2. Gotovets did not make the trip to New Hampshire.

Colgate Raiders 1 @ Harvard Crimson 4

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-2-2, +2, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 22 GP, 4-11-15, +1, 8 PIM

Coming off an upset win over Boston University, Harvard won their second in a row, 4-1 over visiting Colgate. The Crimson are now undefeated in three games after what has been a disastrous season. Brian Hart (pictured) had his second straight two-assist game for Harvard.

No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 1 @ No. 3 Miami RedHawks 3

F Jimmy Mullin, MIA: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 28 GP, 4-7-1, +1, 12 PIM

Miami got a home win before they play in the inaugural Hockey City Classic on Sunday outside at Chicago’s Soldier Field against the Irish. Minnesota will play Wisconsin in the other match.

St. Lawrence Saints 2 @ No. 1 Quinnipiac Bobcats 1

F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 26 GP, 9-9-18, +6, 28 PIM

It’s over. The unranked Saints ended No. 1 Quinnipiac’s 21-game unbeaten streak with a 2-1 win in the Bobcats’ barn. Matt Peca’s personal eight-game point streak also came to an end.

No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers 3 @ No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers 2

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 28 saves on 30 shots
Season totals: 28 GP, 19-4-4, 1.81 GAA, .922 sv%, 3 SO

Minnesota won this edition of the Border Battle, defeating the Badgers 3-2 on their home ice. The two will play again on Sunday outdoors at Chicago’s Soldier Field. On Friday, Minnesota got a late goal to go up 3-1 before the Badgers cut the lead to one goal with 1:02 left. They were never able to get the equalizer by Adam Wilcox, who won his 19th game.

No. 6 Western Michigan Broncos 1 @ Ohio State Buckeyes 1 (OT)

D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 31 GP, 2-5-7, -4, 40 PIM

Western Michigan won the shootout, 2-1, though the game will go down as a tie. WMU limited OSU to 18 shots on goal.

*USCHO poll used

NCAA Game Night: 2-8-13

No. 3 Miami RedHawks 0 @ No. 6 Western Michigan Broncos 2

F Jimmy Mullin, MIA: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 26 GP, 4-7-11, -1, 10 PIM

D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 29 GP, 2-5-7, -1, 36 PIM

The Broncos held the Red Hawks off the scoresheet in a match-up of two of the country’s top teams. WMU captain Luke Witkowski did not record a point in the win. Frank Slubowski (undrafted) had 29 saves for the shutout. With the win, WMU moved into first place in the CCHA, two points ahead of Miami.

No. 7 North Dakota 2 @ No. 14 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 1

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: Did not play
Season totals: 19 GP, 1-5-6, -3, 12 PIM

Brendan O’Donnell remains out of the North Dakota lineup. On Friday, Danny Kristo (Flames) had a goal and an assist to lead UND to a big road win. UND is in a three-way tie for second in the WCHA with UNO and Minnesota.

No. 2 Quinnipiac Bobcats 4 @ Cornell Big Red 1

F Matthew Peca, QU: 1-0-1, +2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 24 GP, 9-8-17, +9, 18 PIM

D/W Kirill Gotovets, COR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 20 GP, 0-0-0, +4, 12 PIM

Matt Peca (pictured) had a goal to help Quinnipiac to their 20th straight game without a loss. His nine goals are one more than he scored as a freshman last season in 39 games. The Bobcats have a nine point lead on Yale for the ECAC title. Cornell finally fell out of the USCHO top 20, and did not receive a vote this past week. The Big Red are 11th out of 12 teams in the ECAC standings.

No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers 4 @ No. 8 St. Cloud State Huskies 2

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 22 saves on 24 shots
Season totals: 26 GP, 18-3-4, 1.71 GAA, .925 sv%, 3 SO

Minnesota overcame two disallowed goals and an early third period tie to defeat WCHA-leading SCSU, 4-2. Eric Haula (Wild) had two goals for the Gophers. Wilcox was excellent in the third period, making athletic stops and turning back a late breakaway chance. He came into the game second in the country in wins. Minnesota is tied with North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha for second place in the conference, three points back of the Huskies. The Gophers have two games in hand on the other three teams mentioned here.

*USCHO poll used

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