What a start for Mike Vecchione.
The young forward has been stellar for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season, posting 10 points in his first month in the AHL. Vecchione was awarded by the league for his outstanding start with the AHL Rookie of the Month for the month of October.
— AHL (@TheAHL) November 1, 2017
From the official press release:
Vecchione registered two assists and a plus-5 rating in his AHL debut on Oct. 7 as Lehigh Valley downed Hershey, 7-2. His first goal as a professional came in the Phantoms’ 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Oct. 14, and he set up the winning goal in a 4-3 decision at Binghamton on Oct. 21. Vecchione scored again in a 3-2 overtime win vs. Springfield on Oct. 25, and he closed out the month on a seven-game scoring streak thanks to assists on Oct. 27 at Springfield and Oct. 28 vs. Hartford.
Vecchione is tied for the AHL lead in rookie scoring with his 10 points and ranks second among rookies with eight assists thus far. The 24-year-old native of Saugus, Mass., signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers on July 1 following four seasons at Union College, where he won the 2014 national championship as a freshman and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as a senior last year.
So far this season, Vecchione has done it all. During a thrilling overtime victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds, he had the instincts to get to the right position on the power play and was rewarded with a beautiful pass to bury with no one in front of him.
But that’s not all he did that evening. Vecchione was a force, offensively. He showed off his speed in the neutral zone, skating past a defender on a breakaway. He was hooked on his way to the net and was able to draw a penalty. Vecchione was very good in the face-off circle, especially in the offensive zone. He allowed his team to control possession, which was a huge reason they recorded 39 shots on net that night.
His two-way hockey IQ was phenomenal as well. Vecchione, towards the middle of the third period in a tie game, was able to disrupt and negate what would have been a point-blank chance in front of Alex Lyon by diving across to block the shooting lane. That slowed down the Springfield attack and enabled his team to clear the zone.
All in all, the forward played a strong two-way game and is continuing to grow in the AHL. The rookie forward is thriving at a point-per-game pace and is doing it all on the ice for the Phantoms. It’s only a matter of time before Vecchione returns to the NHL, but not without succeeding in the AHL this season.
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