They came, they saw, they conquered. The Florida Panthers roster of rookies capped off an impressive prospects tournament by cruising to a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning today at the Ford Ice Center in Antioch, TN.
Mackenzie Weegar opened the scoring off a scramble in front of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Rocco Grimaldi picked up the lone assist on the goal.
Mike Aviani quickly evened things for Tampa Bay, beating Florida starter Sam Brittain, with his second goal of the tournament.
Logan Shaw converted a bad Lightning turnover in their own end to give the Cats the lead back before the end of the opening frame.
2014 second-rounder Jayce Hawryluk lit the lamp while on the power play to give the Panthers a 3-1 advantage early in the second period.
Brittain, who finished with 18 stops, gave way to Clarke Saunders to begin the third.
The Panthers extended their lead when Connor Brickley scored on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush with the assist going to Trocheck, who made a sweet pass on the play, once again.
Blueliner Andrew Blazek (from Hawryluk and Shaw) used Vasilevskiy to put the Cats up 5-1 before Slater Koekkoek got one past Saunders to pull the Bolts back within three.
Tampa Bay's Cameron Maclise scored to make it 5-3 before Juho Lammikko notched an empty-netter to complete the scoring with Grimaldi adding his second assist of the day.
Brittain, who started all three games and finished with a 2-0 record and stingy 1.09 GAA, defenseman Aaron Ekblad and Trocheck were named to the officials/scouts all-tournament team. Nashville's online media honored Brittain and Ekblad.
The lines and defensive pairing at the start of the game were as follows:
- Connor Brickley - Vincent Trocheck - Jayce Hawryluk
- Juho Lammikko - Stephan Vigier - Rocco Grimaldi
- Francis Beauvillier - Steven Hodges - Logan Shaw
- Tony Turgeon - Wade Megan - Joe Basaraba
- Jonathan Racine - Aaron Ekblad
- Shayne Taker - Mackenzie Weegar
- Andrew Blazek - Joshua Brown