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D-Camp Notebook: Mascherin’s Lethal Shot, Lynch Turns Pro, and More!

by Jameson Olive / Florida Panthers


CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. --
When the Florida Panthers selected winger Adam Mascherin with the 38th overall pick in last month’s draft, the team succeeded in acquiring a lethal shot that had already left several garage doors in its wake.

As an aspiring hockey player growing up in Toronto, Ontario, Mascherin honed his now-elite shooting skills by firing puck after puck at his parent’s garage, leaving the defenseless metal door dinged and dented, while also creating an awful ruckus for anyone unfortunate enough to be inside the house.

“Until (my parents) came home, that was all I really had to do,” said Mascherin, who would shoot a mixture of regular and heavy pucks. “I just worked at it every day and it was fun to me.

“I had a net, but if I missed, (the puck) would hit the back wall and my mom would come out and tell me to stop missing the net… There were holes in the back (of the garage), it was almost in the living room.”

With this daily routine in place, Mascherin’s shot became so powerful that his twin brother, Aedan, eventually refused to stop donning his goalie pads an stepping in between the pipes when Adam would ask for help.

“He wouldn’t go in net for me,” Mascherin said with a chuckle. “He was scared.”

Many years later, Mascherin is still terrorizing any goaltender unfortunate enough to be manning the crease when he steps onto the ice. The 18-year-old sniper was one of the most dynamic scorers in the Ontario Hockey League this past season, using his carefully crafted quick release to notch 81 points (35-46—81) in 65 games for the Kitchener Rangers.

“It’s an element of my game that I don’t think a lot of guys have,” Mascheirn said of his rapid release. “That’s what makes me special as a player. I obviously try to work on that, but I’m trying to round out the rest of my game as well. I want to be more effective not just shooting the puck, but also passing, turning, and all that stuff.”

An offensive standout throughout this week’s development camp at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, the 5-foot-10, 206-pound Mascherin was picking corners and finding the twine during almost every shooting drill the annual summer camp had to offer.

With things wrapping up on Friday, however, Mascherin isn’t resting on his laurels and is ready to receive orders, more than willing to do whatever it takes to get his game exactly where the Panthers want it to be.

“I’ll find out in my exit meeting,” Mascherin said when asked what’s next for him this summer. “What they tell me I need to work on, I’ll work on.”

LYNCH READY TO TURN PRO


The career and single-season scoring leader at Robert Morris University, Zac Lynch entered this year’s development camp on the heels of an outstanding four-year collegiate career that had culminated with a Hobey Baker nomination.

The 24-year-old forward captured five championship trophies during his tenure with the Colonials, including two Three Rivers Classic tournament championships, two Atlantic Hockey regular season titles and one Atlantic Hockey playoff championship, helping Robert Morris to its first NCAA tournament appearance.

As he prepares for his first season of professional hockey, however, those accolades and honors have already begun to gather dust and admittedly don’t mean that much to the motivated Pittsburgh native.

“It was nice to those things, it’s good for confidence reasons, but at this point it’s a different game,” Lynch said of his prior accomplishments. “It’s a new game and I’m just starting fresh, kind of just seeing what I can do at this level.”

One of several players hoping to earn a spot with the Panthers’ American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield during the upcoming season, Lynch is a threat to score whenever he is on the ice, especially while on the penalty kill. He led the nation with eight shorthanded goals this past season and finished his career his career at Robert Morris as the school’s all-time leader in the category with 14.

“I’ve learned over the years in college that a lot of power plays don’t like to play defense,” the 6-foot, 180-pound Lynch said. “Any time that I get a chance, I’d always push the pace a little bit and push the defense. A lot of power plays only have one defenseman out there and another forward on the point. Any time I see that, I try to take advantage. Fortunately for me, it paid off a few times.”

Following his senior season at Robert Morris, Lynch signed an amateur tryout contract with Portland, where he tallied one assist in seven games for the Pirates while adjusting to the ebbs and flows of the professional hockey.

“I thought I fit in well there. It was a different game, overall,” Lynch said. “There were a lot smarter players and everyone was where they needed to be. You really had to focus a lot more and know exactly where you were on the ice.

“I gained a lot of experience, obviously. I was very fortunate enough to get some games in at the pro level to test where I was at that point and see what I needed to work on for the upcoming season.”

MORE NOTES

- After winning a national championship as a freshman with the University of North Dakota this past season, winger Chris Wilkie, a sixth-round pick in 2015, is ready to take on more responsibility as a sophomore during the upcoming season.

“To realize that goal was pretty cool, and hopefully we’ll do it again next year,” said Wilkie, who recorded nine points (5-4—9) in 32 games. “I set my standards pretty high for myself, so I’m obviously not going to accept not being in every game. I think, coming into next year, it’s my goal to be a leader and be a top guy on the team.”

- As he prepares for his final season at Denver University, senior goaltender Evan Cowley, a fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft, still has plenty to accomplish before graduating.

“The big one is a national championship,” said Cowley, who owned an 8-5-1 record with a 2.07 goals-against average and .929 save percentage last season. “We got very close last year and I feel like we’ve got the team do it this year.”

- Jonathan Ang, a fourth-round pick in last month’s draft, enjoyed his first NHL development camp, but getting used to the tropical South Florida heat definitely took some time.

“It’s a little different than where I’m from,” said Ang, who recorded 49 points (21-28—49) in 68 games for the OHL’s Peterborough Petes last season. “I’m from Toronto… It’s pretty hot down here.”

- Dryden Hunt scored a pair of goals to help lead Team Red to a 6-4 win over Team White in Friday’s intrasquad scrimmage to close out this year’s development camp.


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