After a rigorous three-day stint at rookie training camp, Lightning hopefuls were given a final chance at making a lasting impression on team personnel during Friday morning's intra-squad scrimmage.
From the opening faceoff, the black team commanded the tempo of the game, putting several shots on goal and controlling puck possession down in the attacking zone. White team goaltender Dustin Tokarski held a strong presence in net, making two quick saves with the glove and deflecting several others.
"[Tokarski] is just solid. Pucks hit him and he's almost boring to watch at times just because he's a strong positional goaltender and he's got a strong mental approach to the game," Lightning goaltending coach Cap Raeder said. "He's so even keel. There are no highs to his game and there are no lows as far as the mental part or his style."
About ten minutes in, the white team put the first goal on the board as Vladimir Mihalik lifted a nifty backhand over the left glove of net minder Michael Zador. The black team continued to apply pressure in the offensive zone, but was plagued by numerous turnovers mostly due to sloppy passes. Black had a chance to knot the game at one goal apiece, but neither Mark Barberio nor Mitch Fadden could convert on the 2-on-1 scoring chance or the resulting rebound.
"We just had to focus," Barberio said. "When you make a tape-to-tape pass, it's gotta be on the tape. It can't hit the skate, it can't be ahead, it can't be behind. Just paying attention to detail is the biggest difference I've seen coming from junior camp to pro camp. Guys here just don't make those mistakes."
The white team had an opportunity to go up by a pair of goals as 5-on-5 play concluded, but Matias Sointu's shot from the right faceoff circle struck the post. They would get another chance, however, as highly-touted draft prospect Victor Hedman capitalized by sending a soft wrist shot towards net that sailed over the left shoulder of Zador for a 2-0 lead.
Once the scrimmage went to 3-on-3, the black team finally found the back of the net thanks to a fancy inside-out move by Dana Tyrell on the edge of the crease, sending the puck over Tokarski's stick-side shoulder. The goal would be too little too late though, as the white team won 2-1 before participating in shootout drills.
The shootout came down to a duel between forward Chris Lawrence and defenseman Vladimir Mihalik, with Lawrence ultimately emerging as the winner.
"It was a good week. There were a lot of young guys who worked hard and learned a lot," Mihalik said. "I know all the coaches were watching and I hope that they were happy about [training camp]."