Lumber Kings alumni making their mark
Several former Pembroke Lumber Kings are making names for themselves at varying levels of hockey.
Among them, Petawawa native Matthew Peca who is in his sophomore season with the National College Athletic Association's (NCAA's) Quinnipiac Bobcats. On March 31, he led the team with three goals and an assist, and in the process recorded the fastest hat trick in NCAA tournament history, scoring the three goals in a 3:12 span of the first period. The 5-1 win over the Union Dutchmen in the East Regional final helped the Bobcats secure its first-ever berth in the NCAA Frozen Four, which will determine the top men's ice hockey team in NCAA Division I and Division III.
In the East Regionals semifinal on March 30, Quinnipiac came from behind to edge Canisius 4-3. Peca also notched a goal in that game, was +2 and had four shots on goal. Peca was named the NCAA East Regional most valuable player after the two games.
The top-ranked, top-seeded Bobcats played St. Cloud State Thursday in one of the two national semifinal games in Pittsburgh, Pa. Quinnipiac won 4-1 and advanced to the national championship game against the Yale Bulldogs.
In 37 games this season, Peca scored 15 goals and had 15 assists, including three power-play, two short-handed and five game-winning goals. He was +15.
Joining Peca at Quinnipiac this year was former Lumber Kings' defenceman Tom Hilbrich of Clarendon, Illinois. The freshman was a +1 in the two games he appeared in this season.
Former Lumber King Stephen Farrell is finishing his second season with the Canisius Golden Griffins. In 24 games this season, the defenceman scored two goals and added six assists and registered 19 shots.
In the second Frozen Four semifinal the University of Massachusetts at Lowell took on Yale. Pembroke's own Matt Boudens is also enjoying success with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In a recent playoff game, the 19-year-old forward scored four goals and added an assist as his team edged the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 7-6. It was Drummondville's only win of the series as the Huskies won 4-1 ending the season for Boudens and his teammates.
Two of Boudens' goals in the game were scored 41 seconds apart during a 5-on-3 man advantage, he added a short-handed marker to complete the hat trick and he scored early in the third, netting what turned out to be the game winner.
This is Boudens' second season in the QMJHL. In 63 games this season, he scored 18 goals and added 23 assists for 41 points. He also recorded 108 penalty minutes. In 40 games his first year, Boudens had six goals and four assists and 71 penalty minutes.
Former Kings' tough guy Eric Selleck was called up to the Florida Panthers last month to play in his first National Hockey League game. In the game, against the Carolina Hurricanes, although he didn't score any points, he did appear on the game sheet. He accumulated 17 penalty minutes and was ejected from the game after instigating a fight with Canes' forward Kevin Westgarth.
Selleck left the bench to fight Westgarth with 2:58 left in the Panthers' 4-1 victory March 19. The next day the league announced Selleck had been suspended two games without pay for the incident. Instigating a fight in the last five minutes of the game carries an automatic one-game suspension and the second game was added for leaving the bench during a legal line change. Westgarth, who was not engaged with any other player, dropped Selleck with two punches. Selleck had to be helped off the ice as he appeared disoriented.
Nearly three years ago, the undrafted 25-year-old Spencerville, Ont. native was signed to a two-year, two-way free agent contract by the Panthers while he was a student at State University of New York - Oswego. Since then he's been playing for the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. In 60 games with the Rampage this season, the left winger had five goals and 11 assists and recorded 181 penalty minutes.
Ryan Lasch was recently in the news when he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for David Steckel and the Ducks' seventh-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Since the trade, the 26-year-old California native has been assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.
In seven games with the Marlies so far, Lasch has a goal and an assist. His first goal with the team came April 5 against the St. John's IceCaps. He opened the scoring for the Marlies in the game and they went onto win 3-2 in overtime. In an interview on Leafs TV, Lasch called it a relief to finally put the puck in the net with his new squad.
The Marlies are the fourth team Lasch has played with this season. He started out with the Fort Wayne Komets of the East Coast Hockey League, where he played 15 games, followed by 10 games with the Vaxjo Lakers in Sweden, and 19 games with the Ducks' farm team Norfolk Admirals of the AHL before settling in Toronto.
Adam Brace, 24, of Cobden, Ont. recently joined the Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League after registering 41 points (14g, 27a) in 38 games during his senior season at Robert Morris University. The 5'10", 185-pound forward accumulated 92 points (40g, 52a) during his three seasons at Robert Morris from 2010-13. Brace also posted 23 points (6g, 17a) in 33 appearances at Canisius College during the 2008-09 season.
In four regular season games with the Everblades, Brace had a goal and five assists in four games and in two playoff games he had a goal and an assist along with two penalty minutes.
On March 29, Evan de Haan was the overtime hero as his goal 6:23 of extra time lifted the Sudbury Wolves to a 1-0 win over the Brampton Battalion and a 4-1 series win over the team which is relocating to North Bay for the 2013-14 Ontario Hockey League season. It was the first goal of the post-season for the 18-year-old Ottawa native, although he also recorded a pair of assists and two penalty minutes in the five-game playoff series.
In 64 regular season games with the Wolves de Haan, a defenceman, had two goals, nine assists and 18 penalty minutes.
After starting the season with the Lumber Kings, Tyler Gaudet joined the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in December after receiving a call from coach Sheldon Keefe. In 34 regular season games, the 20-year-old Hamilton, Ont. native had three goals and five assists, and 10 penalty minutes. In six playoff games against the Owen Sound Attack, he recorded one goal.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist