LoVecchio a collegiate standout who co-captained the Western Michigan Broncos during the 2007-08 season, has had to come back from a concussion during his first professional year that kept him benched for all of the 2008-09 season.
“Tonight, he gave us what we needed,” said Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien of the rookie’s performance. “Obviously, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get noticed."
The B’s certainly have noticed LoVecchio since he returned from injury.
They re-signed the forward this past summer after he had a strong 2009-10 season with the P-Bruins. The left wing tallied 15 goals and 9 assists for 24 points in 65 games in Providence.
Hailing from Chesterfield, Missouri, a small town of about 50,000, LoVecchio hopes to make the jump from the AHL to the NHL and its bigger crowds and bigger stakes.
“I thought we played really well, especially for having a lot of young guys on the line-up," said LoVecchio. "Coach [Julien] said before the game that it was almost their whole actual NHL team from last year.
“Especially for us young guys, it was exciting because it was the closest thing we’ve had to an NHL game, playing against a full team like that,” he continued. “It easily could have been a different game. Schaef [Nolan Schaefer] also made some big saves for us, so it was a close game.
“I’m pretty happy with how I played myself,” Jeff said of scoring the B’s only two goals.
LoVecchio and fellow rookie, defenseman Steven Kampfer, had great chemistry as the blueliner earned assists on both of LoVecchio’s two goals.
“The first [goal], the one back to Kampfer, he put a good shot on that and I just got my stick on it and tipped it, kind of fooled the goalie and redirected it,” explained LoVecchio. “The second one, I passed it over to Kampfs for a one-timer, and carried it off his pad.
"It came right out to me in the slot, and I just put my head down and shot it, and it went in."
On Saturday, LoVecchio hopes to see the Black & Gold driving to the net more often in the second game against the Panthers.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of shots in the first period there," he said after practice on Friday. "So if we shoot the puck more and maybe do a little bit better on the power play and hopefully get some goals from that, it’ll help us get some momentum.”
Jeff is hopeful to take the ice at Garden for only the second time in his hockey career.
“I would be pretty stoked," said LoVecchio. "I got to play one game in the Garden last year in exhibition and it was unbelievable.
"Anytime you can play in front of the Bruins fans [is exciting].”