University School Kids Correspondent
The Florida Panthers amazed their fans when they beat the Atlanta Thrashers in an 8-4 victory on January 10. Held at the BankAtlantic Center, this hockey match proved to be one of the best games the Panthers have had all season.
The third period was the pinnacle for this game. Not only were the Panthers able to come back from a weak second period in which they squandered a 3-1 lead, but they scored five times in the third period alone.
Once Ville Peltonen scored the first goal of the third only 1:34 minutes into the period, the flood gates were open. Next, with assists from Michael Frolik and Karlis Skrastins, came Cory Stillman’s goal. Before the cheers from a 5-3 lead died down, David Booth made it 6-3 on a pretty passing play with linemates Nathan Horton and Richard Zednik. The crowd was eager to shout “Boooooooth” in response.
With less than eight minutes remaining, Gregory Campbell and Radek Dvorak assisted Ville Peltonen on his second goal of the period to make it 7-3 and also marking the first time that the Panthers scored five times in just one period since April 9, 2006. Campbell, who had three assists during this game and now has 20 points on the season, has already eclipsed his point total from all of last season.
Panthers Head Coach Peter DeBoer reasoned that the reason for the increase in goals of late was “confidence - It starts with the saves. [goaltender] Tomas [Vokoun] has been playing well for us and when he’s making saves like that, we have the confidence to jump up and rush.”
The second period for the Panthers was slow. Campbell explained that “we got up two goals and sat back a little.”
Although the Panthers were ahead 3-1 heading in to the first intermission, the Thrashers were able to score twice during the second period and tie the game at three.
After the victory, Dvorak stated that “It’s nice to know we can always come back.” According to DeBoer, the Thrashers were able to find holes in the penalty killing and exploit them.
The first period, like the third, was all Panthers. The game started with a goalie interference with Atlanta Thrasher’s player Chris Thornburn, negating an Atlanta goal that would have given the Thrashers a 1-0 lead.
Then, twenty-year-old rookie Michael Frolik was able to deke and score during a penalty shot. This first goal of the game was the first successful penalty shot for the Panthers since February of 2008. Later that period All-Star Jay Bowmeester scored on a scrum in front and Radek Dvorak notched a shorthanded tally to make it 3-1.
According to DeBoer, this game “had a little bit of everything, it had lots of goals and a fight and that’s what hockey’s about.”