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Matt Pepe
 
Jersey Number: #20
Junior Experience: 1 Year
Date of Birth: Feb 22nd, 1987
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 200lbs
NHL Status: Eligable in '05
How Acquired: 11th Rnd '03 draft
Hometown: Dorchester
 
Matt Pepe has the distinction of being the first ever Kitchener Ranger bantam wild card player, for or the next little bit he's probably destined to be the lowest picked 'wild card' player to play for the Rangers.  Matt Pepe was taken in the 12th round of the OHL bantam draft (240th overall), few players even play one game in the league who are drafted that late, but there are exceptions to every rule and since there wasn't one to ban Pepe from playing for the Rangers he made the team (part time) defying all odds.  Aside from impressing the Rangers' coaching staff at camp the Rangers were left vulnerable from the previous season, in all 3 defenders graduated, one was traded and other (Thomas Harrison) started the season very late because of his recovery from knee surgery, Matt Pepe seemed to be an ideal fit as a 7th defender.

In Pepe's first season it was very evident just how solid he was on his feet, he'd land some very thundering open ice checks, but often he'd get a little greedy and look for some hits at inappropriate times, something that has altogether stopped in his second season.  He still throws his weight around with the best of them, but won't get caught out of position while doing so.

In Pepe's first season, he was used frequently as a call-up appearing in 15 games overall, mainly due to injuries involving overage defenders: Marcus Smith and Alex MacDonell.  In those games he received limited ice time but was able to get a very good idea of the climate of the OHL, exactly what would be expected of him in future seasons.  Most of his time was spent patrolling the blueline for the Cambridge WinterHawks, on occasion he was called upon for double-headers appearing for the Winterhawks in the afternoon and then spending limited time on the Rangers' blueline at night.

Matt Pepe in his first full season has played primarily as a 6th defender on a Rangers' team that saw the return of 6 defenders from the previous year's roster.  Pepe has been extremely solid on the blueline even when injuries have left the team struggling and he has been bumped up in ice time.  For a 6th defender Matt Pepe is pretty much one of the more solid in the league.  During the exhibition schedule Pepe displayed a bit of a flair for the offensive, when he scored a pair of goals.  Looking forward to the 2005-'06 season and the departure of blueline sniper Andre Benoit, he could be in a position to receive some powerplay time should he continue to improve offensively.  He has also been fairly robust only missing time because of a nasty spear to the groin while in Peterborough.  He's also displayed an interest in some of the rougher stuff.


Season
GP
G
A
P
PIM
+/-
PPG
SHG
2003-2004 Kitchener Rangers
15
0
0
0
2
-5
0
0
2004-2005 Kitchener Rangers
52
0
1
1
60
1
0
0
Career Totals
67
0
1
1
62
-4
0
0