Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rats sign Matt Schepke, recall Pistilli

The Albany River Rats yesterday signed rookie forward Matt Schepke to a professional tryout contract and also recalled first-year winger Matthew Pistilli from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. 

With Albany forwards Michael Ryan and Rob Hennigar curbed with injuries, Zach Boychuk and Jiri Tlusty called up to the Carolina Hurricanes, and Nicolas Blanchard suspended, the River Rats needed to find two skaters on short notice for tonight's contest in Syracuse. 

Schepke, known for his quick shot and two-way play, comes from the Charlotte Checkers, division rival of the Florida Everblades in the ECHL. 

The 24-year-old Michigan State graduate has 10 goals, 7 assists and a plus-10 rating in 28 games with Charlotte this season. He was recently named an ECHL all-star. (Watch a brief interview with Schepke about 1:49 into this video clip.)

Schepke led Michigan State in scoring last season with 14 goals and 10 assists in 38 games. He joined the Checkers after graduating and made his AHL debut with the Hartford Wolf Pack last April, registering three shots and a plus-1 rating in one game. 

Pistilli joins the River Rats for the third time this season. The hard-working two-way winger has three goals, three assists and a plus-2 rating in 25 games with Albany this year. (Read a recent interview with Pistilli here.)

Pistilli was reassigned from the Rats to the Florida Everblades on December 27 and recorded an assist with the Blades on New Years Eve. The undrafted rookie, signed by the Hurricanes during the offseason, has a goal and an assist in six games with Florida this season.