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Inside Training Camp - Day Three

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

After stepping foot on the ice yesterday as a team, the Lightning split into three groups to face off against each other in a scrimmage for the first time during this year’s training camp. Group A, wearing white jerseys, didn’t waste any time as the puck dropped against Group C who was wearing black. Approximately thirty seconds into the game, Alex Tanguay  put one past Antero Niittymaki for an early 1-0 advantage, a goal that resulted from heavy pressure in the attacking zone and a high offensive tempo.

After numerous turnovers in the neutral zone that killed any Group A scoring chances, the black team had a chance for the equalizer after Lukas Krajicek’s penalty resulted in a Chris Lawrence penalty shot. Lawrence’s shot, however, sailed high up over the net to preserve the white team’s one goal lead. After Radek Smolenak fired one wide from the right face-off circle, Juraj Simek was provided with the black team’s second chance to knot the game on a penalty shot, but was stopped by the stick of white team goaltender Jaroslav Janus who finished with 17 saves.

Despite the white team’s high tempo starting to slow down a bit, they continued to attack and put points on the board as Adam Hall knocked in a rebound on a second opportunity for a 2-0 lead. The black team continued to apply pressure in the offensive zone, but Janus was solid in net as he turned away forward James Wright three separate times on consecutive rebound attempts. Soon after, Mitch Fadden was finally able to net one for Group C, as he converted the black team’s third penalty shot opportunity with a hard wrister in the top left corner of the goal to cut the Group A lead to just one.

The white team proved that their work put in during training camp was beginning to pay off. Paul Szczechura fired a centering pass right on the tape of Martins Karsums’ stick, which Karsums then buried past recently-substituted goaltender Michael Zador.

Group C continued to battle in an attempt to play catch-up, and cut the deficit by one for a second time as Juraj Simek converted his second penalty shot attempt by first dekeing, then going five-hole on white team goaltender Riku Helenius for a 3-2 score. The one-goal margin wouldn’t last long, however, as the white team scored three more times to put the scrimmage out of reach. First, on a slapshot fired by defenseman Lukas Krajicek that was deflected out in front of the crease by newly-acquired winger Alex Tanguay. Paul Szczechura recorded his second point of the day, this time a goal, before Alex Tanguay found the back of the net once again, his third point in the scrimmage. James Wright added an additional goal for Group C, but it came too late as Group A went on to win 6-3.

Shortly after a brief cool-down session, Group C, still dressed in black, took to the ice once again to scrimmage against Group B wearing grey. The black team resembled their opponent in the day’s first scrimmage, attacking the offensive zone early and putting many shots on net. Group C’s Juraj Simek redeemed himself on another penalty shot opportunity after he was turned away on his first chance in the earlier scrimmage, this time sneaking one past white team goaltender Mike Smith for a 1-0 lead.

Group B’s Martin St. Louis led the grey team on offense, recording four points, as well as putting numerous shots on goal and attacking the zone relentlessly. Teammate Drew Miller tied the game at one goal apiece after Steven Stamkos shot one wide of the net just moments before. St. Louis then gave Group B their first lead of the game on a penalty shot in which he reached back and flicked a hard wrist shot past the glove of black team goaltender Michael Zador to put his team up, 2-1.

Scoring continued to go back and forth throughout the first period, as Group C’s Lauri Tukonen knotted the game for a second time, resulting in a 2-2 score. The deadlock was short lived as black team forward Chris Lawrence converted a penalty shot for a 3-2 Group C advantage. Group C had the opportunity to go up by two goals shortly following, but Matias Sointu couldn’t score on the breakaway chance, getting stopped by Mike Smith. The failed opportunity proved to be costly, as the white team capitalized on a game-tying goal by Todd Fedoruk. The equalizer provided Group B with the momentum necessary to push forward not only to take the lead, but to hold on for the win as Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone added two more goals for a 5-3 Group B win.

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