For the second straight day Panthers fans crowded in to the Saveology.com IcePlex in Coral Springs as the Panthers rookie squad battled the rookies of the Nashville Predators.
Unfortunately for the hometown fans, strong goalie play and a relentless offensive charge led to a 5-1 victory for Nashville.
The Predators jumped out to an early early just over five minutes into the game as Chris Mueller's shot from the slot trickled past goalie Jacob Markstrom
. Notre Dame standout Ryan Thang netted the eventual game-winning goal ten minutes later off a feed from Ryan Ellis.
"We got running around a little bit again," said Amerks/Rookie head coach Chuck Weber. "We made some mistakes unfortunately in our down low coverage and that comes from communication. On defense, your feet and your mouth work together and when guys are working together and they're new to each other, you get those mistakes unfortunately."
Mueller would add his second goal of the game just thirty-nine seconds into the second period, banging home a rebound off a Roman Josi shot. Gabriel Bourque would add another goal before Taylor Beck netted his third goal in two contests to close the scoring for the Preds.
After being stonewalled for much of the game by the goalie tandem of Anders Lindback and Chet Pickard, Corey Durocher
would score the Panthers' lone goal after tipping a wrister from defenseman Colby Robak
past Pickard with 3:35 left in the contest.
"The guys competed shift in and shift out," said Weber. "Yeah they (Nashville) scored some goals on us but we battled to the end, getting a goal with three minutes left. After their fifth one, a lot of guys can be like "well here we go, let's get through it" but I thought we put some good shifts together we just didn't generate a lot of offense out of the work that we accomplished. We worked hard.
"At times we didn't work smart but you just see so much potential in these kids as individuals and I think if we had some time together as a team that I think you're going to see some good things from this group."
"In terms of game plan I think we came out and we played our game," said first-round pick Erik Gudbranson
. "Unfortunately the bounces didn't go the way we wanted to but we played a lot better than we did yesterday."
The highlight of the game was arguably the play of the goalies on both ends of the ice. After being scratched yesterday, fans had the opportunity to see highly touted prospect Jacob Markstrom
. Markstrom made several spectacular saves on his way to a thirty-two save performance.
"Of course I'm disappointed," said Marksterom. "You never want to lose a game and this was my first game over here and I let five goals in. Of course I'm not happy about that."
For Nashville, Lindback and Pickard continued to baffle the Panthers offense, combining to stop thirty of thirty-one Florida shots.
The Panthers will now regroup before returning to the ice Saturday morning to gear up for the much-anticipated intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday. Hockey Day in South Florida will be an all-day affair at the Cats training facility in Coral Springs including interactive games and the chance to meet many Panthers personalities throughout the day. The afternoon will culminate with the scrimmage at 3:00 p.m. with an autograph session to follow. All the day's events are free and open to the public.
NSH - Goal - Chris Mueller from Mark Santorelli & Austin Watson (5:19)
NSH - Goal - Ryan Thang from Ryan Ellis & Taylor Beck (15:30)2nd PERIOD
NSH - Goal - Chris Mueller from Roman Josi (0:39)3rd PERIOD
NSH - Goal - Gabriel Bourque from Michael Latta & Ryan Flynn (5:59)
NSH - Goal - Taylor Beck from Ryan Thang (7:10)
NSH - Goal - Corey Durocher
from Colby Robak