Following Friday’s off-ice physicals and team orientation activities, the 2010 Tampa Bay Lightning Training Camp officially got underway Saturday morning with an intra-squad scrimmage in front of a packed house at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum. Shortly after participating in on-ice drills that included the team’s first practice under the new coaching staff, a combination of returning veterans, prospects and invitees took center ice to face off against each other, with Team White earning a come-from-behind, 6-2 victory over Team Black.
Niklas Persson and Richard Panik led Team White with two goals apiece, while Ryan Malone potted a goal and registered a team-leading four shots on net for Team Black.
Both teams attacked the other’s end to open the contest, however Team Black controlled puck possession in its zone for the majority of the first half, while peppering goaltender Dustin Tokarski with numerous shots on net. Despite the heavy pressure, Team White tallied the scoreboard first as Niklas Persson opened scoring just under six minutes through the opening frame, slipping one past recently-acquired goaltending prospect Cedrick Desjardins.
Desjardins played all 40 minutes, making 16 saves on 22 shots, while Tokarski (17 saves on 19 shots) split time evenly with Jaroslav Janus (five saves on five shots).
The initial efforts finally paid off for Team Black towards the end of the period, as both Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson found the back of the net. The Lightning’s 2010 first round draft pick, forward Brett Connolly, was impressive throughout the contest including in the first half, as he notched an assist after intercepting a pass from below the right circle and feeding to Thompson, who gave Team Black a 2-1 advantage at the intermission.
The break in play turned out to shift momentum to the other side, as Team White scored five unanswered goals, which ultimately resulted in the scrimmage’s final score.
James Wright opened the scoring at 5:01 of the second half after taking Marc Pouliot’s rebound and roofing it top shelf over the glove of Desjardins to even the score. Persson then regained Team White’s lead, its first since the game’s opening goal, with his second tally of the day at 10:17.
Team Black once again attempted to come from behind, but fell just short of tying the contest when defenseman Matt Smaby’s slap shot from the high slot rattled the crossbar. At the other end, Richard Panik avenged a previous missed opportunity by netting two goals after he was stopped by Desjardins on a breakaway chance with approximately five minutes remaining. Mike Lundin was credited with the game’s final goal after the puck deflected off Team Black and into its own net, sealing the 6-2 win.