By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
|Cats prospect Colby Robak (2nd round - 46th overall in 2008 draft) is having a breakout year this season for the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL).
Two Panther prospects and an integral member of the 1995-96 Panther team are enjoying the post-season in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
Defenseman Colby Robak
, a second-round draft pick (46th overall) by the Panthers at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, was one of the stars for the Brandon Wheat Kings in their four-game sweep of Medicine Hat in the WHL’s Eastern Conference semi-finals.
The 18-year-old had eight points (four goals, four assists) and with a plus-14 rating. He also recorded his first career hat trick April 10 in a 6-2 victory over Medicine Hat. He was rewarded by being named the WHL’s Player of the Week. That followed up a four-game sweep of Kootenay in the first round in which Robak had a goal and two assists with a plus-5 rating.
Robak, in his third season with the Wheat Kings, is coming off a career year offensively, picking up 42 points (13 goals) in 65 games while being a plus-30.
The 6-3, 210-pound Robak and the Wheat Kings have some work to do as they are currently down 2-0 in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Finals against the Calgary Hitmen, coached by former Panther Dave Lowry.
Lowry, an original Panther selected in the 1993 Expansion Draft, played 272 games with the Panthers from 1993-97, scoring 50 goals (110 points). He’s best remembered for his performance in the ’96 playoffs, when he led all Panther scorers with 10 goals (17 points) in 22 games. Two of his 10 goals were game winners.
This is Lowry’s fourth season with the Hitmen, his first as head coach.
Meanwhile, due west of BankAtlantic Center, forward Andrew Sweetland is moving on to the second-round of the ECHL’s Kelly Cup playoffs along with the Florida Everblades, who beat Gwinnett in the opening series 4-1.
Sweetland, a 6-2, 204-pound winger who spent a season at the University of Maine before signing with the Panthers last March as a free agent, has a goal and two assists in the five games with the Everblades.
Sweetland split his time this season between the Everblades and the Panthers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Rochester, N.Y. The Everblades will play either Charlotte or South Carolina in the second round of the Kelly Cup beginning Friday in Estero.