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Immediate impact: Erne scores on first shot of season

By Roger Mooney
Adam Erne, recalled from AHL Syracuse before the game, reacts after scoring his first goal on his first shot of the night. DIRK SHADD | Times

Adam Erne’s contributions to the Lightning’s 5-2 win Thursday against the Canucks came on his very first shot of the game, his very first shot of his season since he was called up from AHL Syracuse before the game.He scored.“It was definitely a confidence booster,” Erne said. “I was obviously a little nervous in the beginning.”Erne’s goal came in the second period and gave the Lightning a 3-0 lead.It was a glimpse of what he can provide for the big club, since he scored 12 in 41 games this season with the Crunch. Erne and Matthew Peca, recalled late last month, are two players who can inject a little youthful energy to a team looking to make that run to a top playoff spot.“Any time you get a couple of fresh faces in the lineup there’s that sense of urgency from them to want to stick around and make their mark and play with energy, play with some rejuvenation of you want to call it, for the team when those guys come in the lineup,” captain Steven Stamkos said. “It’s great. We saw it last year at the end of the year run we went on with a lot of those guys coming up and playing well. With Ern here now, hopefully it can spark something.”Erne, Peca and Yanni Gourde played with the Lightning during the second half of last season. That allowed them the chance to get the jitters out of their system as they negotiated their way around the league for the first time.Peca and Erne returned to Syracuse for the start of this season more confident players. Gourde made the team out of camp and has turned into one of the Lightning’s top scorers with 20 goals and 20 assists. In fact, he reached 20 goals this season faster than Stamkos. OK, so it was by about 15 minutes, but who would have guessed Gourde would have reached 20 before Stamkos?“You need to be able to count on these guys when they come up,” coach Jon Cooper said.Gourde has certainly taken a big step forward this season. Peca, with five points in his eight games, has added a little oomph to the team.“Now it’s Adam Erne’s turn,” Cooper said. “We got to see what we have in some of these young guys moving forward. Adam was one of those guys who got a taste last year and now it’s let’s see if he takes that step. It seemed that he had in the American League, so hopefully it translates to the NHL. I’m sure it will.”