HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH)–Quinnipiac hockey star Matthew Peca has signed a professional contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the school announced on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old forward signed a two-year, two-way contract for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. He will play for the Lightning’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, for the remainder of their season, which ends April 18.
“I’m excited, this is what I wanted, and I’m very eager to join Syracuse,” Peca said in a release. “I’m excited to get started.”
As a sophomore, Peca helped lead Quinnipiac to a national championship game appearance. He was second on the team with 30 points that season, and ranks sixth on the schools all-time list with 143 points (42 goals, 101 assists). He is one of just four players to record 100 career assists.
Peca was selected by the Lightning in the seventh round of the 2011 NHL Draft, but played all four years with Quinnipiac. He was part of a senior class that compiled 97 wins, the most for any class in school history. Over his final three seasons, Peca’s Bobcats won 77 games–the most among all Division I teams in the nation. (Take that, Yale!)
“It’s tough to put into words, my time at Quinnipiac,” Peca said. “It’s been the best four years of my life, I’ve made some great friends and I’ve learned a lot here. I’ve been very lucky, to be able to play at Quinnipiac.”
“Matthew was an elite player for Quinnipiac,” Bobcats head coach Rand Pecknold said. “He has a true commitment to excellence both on and off the ice and we thank him for all that he has done for the Quinnipiac program.”