Jake Lucchini spent four years with the Huskies from 2015 to 2019 even being named Captain is senior year. He is in the Century Club at Michigan Tech, amassing 45 goals and 59 assists over 164 games. After he graduated, he spent 4 seasons playing in the AHL for affiliates of the Penguins, Canadiens and Senators before finally getting 11 games with the Ottawa Senators last season where he scored one goal in the NHL. Aside from that, he has primarily been in the AHL, where he was top 50 in scoring despite playing in only 61 games.
This off-season, he and former Husky Jujhar Khaira signed with the Minnesota Wild, joining Alex Petan’s brother Nic as depth pieces that would all start the season with their AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild. I was able to attend the Wild game vs the Montreal Canadiens with Lucchini was originally called up but he ended up being a health scratch after warm ups as the coaching staff decided to play with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen instead of playing Lucchini as the 12th forward. It was a fun game to attend, as rookie Marco Rossi earned a Gordie Howe Hattrick and star Kirill Kaprizov won the game with almost no time left in OT.
Lucchini eventually made his Wild debut two days later against the Boston Bruins, but I was not able to attend as I was celebrating Christmas with my girlfriend and our kids. He played just over ten minutes recording a hit and two shots. Not a bad performance as he got back to the big show after nearly a full calendar year in the minors. He also played around ten minutes on New Year’s Eve as the Wild lost at home 3-2 to the Winnipeg Jets.
With Marcus Foligno and Kirill Kaprizov scratched for the game, Lucchini and Petan both seem likely to see more than 10 minutes. Lucchini had two shifts, while Nic Petan saw time on the second power play unit during the first power play of the game.
With about 5 minutes left in the first period on Lucchini’s third shift of the game, he picked up a loose puck near the faceoff dot, turned around and wristed a shot wide of the net, but it was a nice heads up play to be there and attempt the shot knowing his teammate was net front on the play. On his next shift, he had a nice backcheck preventing a Calgary player from getting a good shot and managed to safely clear the puck before getting hit into the boards. The Flames took a 2-0 lead shortly after Lucchini got off the ice with a turnover and nice pass from Elias Lindholm to Jonathan Huberdeau. Through 20 minutes, Lucchini had 4 shifts totaling 4:08 of ice time while Nic Petan had 5 shifts for 4:03 including 0:49 on the lone power play opportunity. Both had one off target shot.
During the Second Period, Jake Lucchini would have had a great net front opportunity but the play was shut down for offsides and towards the end of the period. Nic Petan took a cross ice pass through the neutral zone, brought it in the zone and dropped a beautiful pass to the top of the crease but could not connect with the Wild teammate driving the net. On Lucchini’s last shift of the middle stanza, he attempted a back pass off the boards but was too strong and the puck cleared the zone out of the offensive zone. Lucchini had 5 shifts totaling 4:40 of ice time while Nic Petan had 5 shifts for 5:16. Neither had a shot this period, but Petan recorded a hit. Through 40 minutes, Lucchini was on pace to potentially eclipse is NHL best of 13:39 from January 2023 in an Ottawa game against Buffalo, which just so happened to be the game where Lucchini scored his lone NHL goal (and point).
On Lucchini’s first shift of the third period, he had a chance to tie the game while squatting in front of the net but he was unable to get a clean shot on goal. Before that play, he also engaged on behind the Calgary net and helped the Wild regain possession that setup the scoring chance. Nic Petan brought the puck out from behind the net and attempted to pound it home, but was stoned by Markstrom and after the puck was frozen. During the third period, three different pairs of players were in scuffles including Petan. After Freddie Gaudreau was kicked out of the faceoff, Lucchini replaced him and lost the face off on just his second shift of the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury (I know this story isn’t really about him but our EIC Matt Cavender loves him so humor me) saved the Wild from falling back behind 2 goals with under 7 minutes left with multiple crazy saves. The main story of this game was the goaltending as both netminders faced 30+ shots and neither gave up 3 goals on the night. The Wild comeback fell short as they pulled Fleury with under 2 minutes remaining and Calgary got an empty net goal. Petan played 7 shifts in the third and totaled 14:10, while Lucchini only played two shifts and totaled 10:41. Fleury stopped 31 of 33 shots while Calgary’s Markstrom stopped 28 of 29.
Chat with Jake after the Game
I caught up with Jake Lucchini after the tough 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames and asked him a few questions about the game, his time up with the Wild and Michigan Tech:
Tim: How does it feel to be back in the NHL
Jake: It’s good, it’s always nice to be here. Any day in the NHL is a good day especially especially when I’ve mostly been an AHL guy for my pro career but it’s awesome. I just take it day by day, hopefully I’ll stick around for a while, but I’m just take advantage of when I’m here.
Tim: I came to the game that you were scratched after warm ups. What’s that like?
Jake: It’s tough. I mean that was the day that I did get called up and we played in Milwaukee the night before so I got home at 5 AM, woke up at 11, got the call at like 11:30 and then got here at like 5:15, so everything happened so quick so I was ready to play but obviously they went with someone else which is fine.
Tim: You had a couple good chances today and I thought you played some good minutes and had your chance to tuck one in but you got kind of tied up?
Jake: Yeah, I think so. You know you [have to] take advantage of the chances that you get. You know it’s tough league. I’m just trying to work hard, forecheck hard and create some chances
Tim: Did you kind of expect to get less ice time in the third like you did?
Jake: Not so much just, kind of go about however it may be. Obviously top line guys wanna be on the ice and whenever I’m called upon to be ready to go. That’s just kind of how it goes.
Tim: You played with Alex Petan and spent time with Nic Petan in Iowa, and now you’re together here in Minnesota. Have talked him much about that connection?
Jake: I played with Alex for a year so when he was a senior I was freshman and then Nick and I are the same age and he’s from BC too, so we grew up playing like spring hockey against each other kind of our whole lives. We weren’t really familiar with each other and than obviously this year when I got to camp at Iowa. We got to know each other really well and are good friends. We talk about Alex all the time.
Tim: Have you been paying attention to Michigan Tech this year?
Jake: Yeah I have, but in the AHL we play a lot of games on Friday/Saturday nights and they start an hour earlier than most of my games so I usually just check out the highlight package to see what happen. They’re doing pretty well this year and got a big GLI win I saw.
Tim: Well yeah, thanks chatting and its nice to see you up in the NHL!
Jake: No problem. Thanks for coming down. I appreciate it.
CCHA Players of the Week
In other news, on top of winning the Great Lakes Invitational with wins in OT and a Shootout (recorded as an NCAA tie), Michigan Tech swept all of the player of the CCHA player of the week honors for the last week of December. Blake Pietila won Goaltender of the Week with a 2.39 GAA and a .937 save percentage while Jack Works earned Forward of the Week with his hat trick in the GLI championship game while Chase Pietila won both Defenseman of the Week and Rookie of the Week with 3 assists in the GLI.
Tim is a 2004 graduate of Michigan Tech. He is a co-founder of both Mitch’s Misfits and Tech Hockey Guide. With recent additions to the staff, Tim is again able to focus on his passion, recruiting. He currently works as an environmental engineer and resides in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Area.