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Earning the call

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

BROSSARD – Sven Andrighetto wasn’t expecting to be called up to the big club on Friday night, but he certainly earned the promotion.

The Swiss forward has been lighting up the AHL ranks since the start of the year, amassing six goals and 15 points in 17 games with the St. John’s IceCaps, before arriving in Montreal on Saturday morning to take part in off-ice activities at the Bell Sports Complex with the rest of Michel Therrien’s troops.

Andrighetto has put up two goals and six points in his last three games alone, and is coming off a two-goal performance against the Syracuse Crunch at Mile One Centre in Newfoundland on Friday night in which he scored the game-winner in overtime.

“I was really excited to get the call. To be honest, I didn’t really expect it that quickly, but that’s hockey. It’s a business and everything happens so fast. Right after the game, they told me. Obviously, I’m really excited to be here,” shared Andrighetto, who currently ranks third on the IceCaps in points, two points back of Michael McCarron and four points behind leader Bud Holloway. “Every call-up means a lot, I think. It’s a chance for me to show them that I’m here to help the team win hockey games.”

Whether or not Andrighetto will get a chance to ply his trade at the Bell Centre on Sunday night against the New York Islanders is still unknown. Head coach Michel Therrien will announce his lineup on game day, so the 22-year-old will have to wait a little bit longer to learn if he’ll be helping the CH go in search of their 16th win of the season.

What is certain, however, is that Andrighetto has been hard at work fine-tuning his game under the watchful eyes of Sylvain Lefebvre & Co. over the last few months trying to earn his way back to La Belle Province.

“I’ve worked on everything in my game, especially in the defensive zone as well with the coaches. It’s important to be a two-way player. The consistency is really important. You need to bring your “A” game every single night,” offered Andrighetto, who currently ranks second on the IceCaps with a plus-6 differential. “I was down there in St. John’s and I was trying to focus on what I could control, to get better and improve as a hockey player. That’s what we’re there for. When we get the chance here [in Montreal], we have to take it.”

That’s for sure. The Canadiens have been relatively healthy so far this season, meaning that the opportunities for young guns like Andrighetto to jump on board have been slim to none. With Torrey Mitchell currently nursing a lower-body injury, however, an opportunity for the Zurich native to play with the big boys might just be on the horizon.

“I wouldn’t say [it’s been] tough [watching the Canadiens]. There are some things that you can’t really control. I don’t focus on that anymore. I focus on what I can control and that’s being good where I was in St. John’s and being a good teammate,” mentioned Andrighetto, who made his NHL debut with the Canadiens last year, putting up two goals and three points in 12 games. “I would say this is pretty good for my confidence, though. It’s nice to be the first one to get the call. I guess they like what they see from me. I just want to keep it going.”

That being said, Andrighetto admits that he’s been enjoying his time in St. John’s while trying to take his game to another level. The IceCaps are playing good hockey, and Andrighetto – along with players like Charles Hudon, Christian Thomas, Daniel Carr and Mark Barberio – have played an integral part in their success through 17 outings during the 2015-16 campaign.

“You see all the fans there. People in Newfoundland are so nice. They all come out to the games. The support we have there is amazing. As a team, as a group, it’s probably the best I’ve had in the last three years. It’s a lot of fun to play with these guys. We’re close together as a group. It’s fun to go to the rink when it’s like that,” praised Andrighetto, who was selected 86th overall by the Canadiens in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. “We’ve had a really good start, for sure. It’s been going well.”

And, it’s safe to say Therrien is pleased to have Andrighetto in the fold.

“He’s very versatile. We can use him at a few positions. It’s always a plus for a young guy like that,” concluded Therrien. “Marc Bergevin and Sylvain Lefebvre talk almost every day. Andrighetto is playing well. He has experience and he earned the call-up.”

Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.

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