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In the Pipeline: A Weekend of Firsts

by Mike Lewis /

In the Pipeline takes a weekly look at the Panthers prospect pool, highlighting the organization's players in the minor leagues, college, juniors and more.

Opening Weekend for Thunderbirds

Last weekend officially kicked off the Springfield Thunderbirds inaugural season. The T-Birds split their first two games on the road against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (4-2 L) and Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-1 W).

In Springfield's first-ever regular season game on Saturday vs. Lehigh Valley, forward Anthony Greco made AHL history as the first player to score for the Thunderbirds in regular season play. Forward Dryden Hunt notched a pair of firsts as he netted his first professional career goal and the first power-play goal in Thunderbirds history. Goaltender Mike McKenna made 31 saves in the game, but the Thunderbirds fell 4-2. Hunt, Ian McCoshen and Thomas Schemitsch all made their professional debuts in Springfield's first game of the season.

T-Birds Scoring - Oct. 15 at Lehigh Valley
1st Period  
16:41 SPR Anthony Greco (1) ASST: None   
3rd Period  
4:04 SPR Dryden Hunt (1) ASST: Chase Balisy (1), Jakub Kindl (1) (PP)

Springfield bounced back the very next day in an afternoon match-up with the Sound Tigers, earning the team's very first "W" in the record books. Defenseman MacKenzie Weegar struck first for the Thunderbirds in the second period, becoming the first blueliner to notch a goal for the T-Birds. Newly acquired forward Brody Sutter recorded an assist on Weegar's goal before netting his first goal of the season to secure Head Coach Geordie Kinnear's first win as an AHL Head Coach. Goaltender Reto Berra stopped 17 of 18 shots faced to earn his first win of the season. 

T-Birds Scoring - Oct. 16 at Bridgeport
2nd Period  
3:50 SPR Mackenzie Weegar (1) ASST: Brody Sutter (1), Logan Shaw (1)   
3rd Period  
8:52 SPR Brody Sutter (1) ASST: Mackenzie Weegar (1), Tim Bozon (1)  

The Thunderbirds wrap up their road trip on Friday when they take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before their home opener on Saturday against the St. John's IceCaps.



This past weekend Panthers 2016 first round pick Henrik Borgstrom led the Denver Pioneers to a sweep of Boston University after a three-point performance in Saturday night's tilt. Borgstrom scored twice and added an assist in No. 10 ranked Denver's 3-1 win over No. 2 ranked Boston University. Borgstrom's first tally was his first collegiate career goal and was named the game's first star for his performance. 

Tweet from @DU_Hockey: First Career @NCAAIceHockey Goal ���First Star of the Game ��� Pios Hard Hat Award ��� Not a bad night for @punanen5!! #Finning ����

Tweet from @DU_Hockey: ICYMI, @FlaPanthers prospect @punanen5 tallied 2G-1A-3P last night as Denver earned a 3-1 win vs. Boston University:


Like Borgstrom, three 2016 Panthers draft picks have made their presence known for their teams early in the season. 
Cats second round pick Adam Mascherin has wasted no time making an impact for the Kitchener Rangers (Ontario Hockey League). In eight games this season, Mascherin has recorded a team-leading 18 points (4-14-18) and has notched three or more points in four separate games.  

Both of Florida's 2016 fourth rounders have had stood out as well for their OHL clubs. Jonathan Ang who notched two points (1-1-2) in only one game of NHL preseason action with the Cats, has picked up eight points (3-5-8) in nine games, tying him for second in scoring on the Peterborough Petes, while defenseman Riley Stillman has posted five points (1-4-5) in eight games for the Oshawa Generals. Stillman's four assists tie him for the lead in assists among Oshawa blueliners.


Panthers 2015 third round pick and Blainville-Boisbriand goaltender Samuel Montembeault has had a stellar start to the 2016-17 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season. In five games, the 19-year old Quebec City, Qué., native has posted a 5-0-0 record and one shutout, while leading the QMJHL with a 0.97 goals against average and 0.960 save percentage. In Montembeault's five games, he has only allowed five goals. 

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