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In the Pipeline: Using the Force

by Mike Lewis / Florida Panthers

The Portland Pirates defeated the Providence Bruins on Star Wars night in an epic OT finish, while Florida currently has five players at their country’s respective World Junior Championship camps.


(11-11-1-0, 12th in AHL Eastern Conference)


Dec. 9 – Portland Pirates vs. Springfield Falcons (5-1 W)

Dec. 11 – Portland Pirates vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-1 L)

Dec. 12 - Portland Pirates vs. Providence Bruins (3-2 W)


A short time ago, in a galaxy not so far away the Pirates hosted the Providence Bruins at Cross Insurance Arena for Star Wars Night. Decked out in Imperial Stormtrooper-themed uniforms, the Pirates topped the P-Bruins 3-2 in overtime. Rob Flick scored the first Pirates goal, while Rob Schremp tallied twice, including the buzzer-beating OT-game-winner.

In overtime, McKenna skated far out of his net to collect the puck before wiring a pass to MacKenzie Weegar. Weegar found Schremp at center ice as he bolted into the Bruins zone, firing a Death Star-esque blast past Providence goaltender Malcolm Subban for the win.

Weegar recorded two assists in the contest, while McKenna made 23 saves to earn his seventh win of the season.

Photo Courtesy of Michael McSweeney


With five points (3-2-5) in his last three games, Rocco Grimaldi has been one of Portland’s hottest players. Grimaldi scored the lone Portland goal on Dec. 11 vs. Bridgeport after coming off of a four-point night (2-2-4) vs. Springfield. In his second AHL season, the 22-year old has recorded nine points (4-5-9) in 13 games.

Photo Courtesy of Michael McSweeney


First year AHLer and 2012 Florida first-rounder, Michael Matheson has continued to show improvement with the Pirates. Scoring his third goal of the season in Portland’s 5-1 victory over Springfield, Matheson finished the game with a team-leading +4 rating. The 21-year old blueliner leads the Pirates defensemen in plus-minus (+8) and shots on goal (39), while ranking second among the Pirates defense in scoring (3-5-8).


Forward Corban Knight was recalled by the Panthers today from the Portland Pirates. Knight scored his first goal as a Pirate, recording two points (1-1-2) in his Portland debut on Dec. 9.


Dec. 16 – Portland Pirates vs. Springfield Falcons (7:00 p.m.)

Dec. 19 – Portland Pirates at Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7:00 p.m.)

Dec. 20 - Portland Pirates at Bridgeport Sound Tigers (5:00 p.m.)



The 2016 World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland right around the corner (Dec. 26 – Jan. 5), take a look at some of the Panthers prospects currently at the camps of their respective countries:


Lawson Crouse

Position: Forward

Round: 1 (11th overall)

Draft Year: 2015

2014-15 Stats: 22GP w/ Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) – 24 Pts (9-15-24)

One of the returning members of Canada’s Gold-Medal winning team from last year’s tournament, Crouse’s role this time around will be much larger. One of two of the Canada’s youngest players last year (along with Connor McDavid), Crouse performed well, recording 3 points (1-2-3) in seven games. The 18-year old is currently part of Canada’s top unit with fellow 2015 first rounders Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs, fourth overall) and Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes, third overall) and will be counted on to provide experience and leadership as well as strong two-way play.

Jayce Hawryluk

Position: Forward

Round: 2 (32nd overall)

Draft Year: 2014

2014-15 Stats: 26 GP w/ Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) – 33 Pts (17-16-33)

With Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen joining Team Canada’s roster, there needed to be some roster cuts. Despite being looked at as somewhat of a dark horse in Canada’s camp after an impressive campaign in the WHL, Hawryluk was not among those cuts. Healing up from an injury and ready to make an impact, Hawryluk will look to bring his up-tempo, hard-nosed play to the forefront for Canada in his first World Junior Championship.

Samuel Montembeault

Position: Goaltender

Round: 3 (77th overall)

Draft Year: 2015

2014-15 Stats: 22 GP w/Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL) – 7-10-4, 2.79 GAA, 0.886 SV%, 1 SO

Initially not one of Canada's two goalies, Montembeault got the call to join Team Canada after MacKenzie Blackwood (the team’s projected starter) was dealt an eight-game suspension in the OHL. Ever the opportunist, Montembeault posted a 5-0 shutout in his recent exhibition start for Team Canada over the Canadian Interuniversity Sport All-Star Team.


Juho Lammikko

Position: Forward

Round: 3 (65th overall)

Draft Year: 2014

2014-15 Stats: 30 GP w/Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) – 28 Pts (10-18-28)

In his second season of North American hockey, Lammikko has proven to be a two-way threat for the Frontenacs and one of the most relied on forwards on the team. The 19-year old will take some of that momentum with him to the tournament for his second tour of duty on Team Finland. Lammikko recorded two assists in four games for Finland in the 2015 WJC.


Denis Malgin

Position: Forward

Round: 4 (102nd overall)

Draft Year: 2015

2014-15 Stats: 23 GP w/ ZSC Lions (Swiss-A) – 9 Pts (2-7-9)

Malgin has made a name for himself on the international stage having two strong showings last season for Switzerland in both the U18 and U20s. Last season, the 18-year old forward served as captain for the Swiss U18 team, recording 5 points (3-2-5) in seven games. Malgin’s performance in the 2015 WJC did not go unnoticed, as he led his team in scoring (tied) with seven points (1-6-7).


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