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Panthers Prospects Fall 4-1 to Tampa Bay in Final Game of Rookie Tournament

by Mike Lewis / Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers Prospects played their final game of the 2015 Lightning Prospect Tournament today, falling 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Prospects. The Panthers finished the tournament with a 1-2-0 mark.

Panthers forward Connor Brickley finished the tournament as the team leader in goals, scoring the lone tally for Florida to record his third goal in three games. Despite the score, the Panthers Prospects had their chances, posting 40 shots on the Lightning Prospects.

“I think this game was our best game from a compete standpoint,” said Brickley. “Obviously two rival teams, it definitely gets pretty heated out there. We had a good practice yesterday. We talked about how we wanted to get the compete level up on all four lines. I think it showed with a lot of penalties and scrums. All in all, obviously the score didn’t show it but the boys played hard. Now we just take it to the next step for main camp.”

Tampa Bay’s rookies struck first as forward Adam Erne gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 3:43 of the first period.

Brickley’s goal came during an early second period power play to tie the game for the Panthers rookies. Panthers defensemen Michael Matheson and MacKenzie Weegar notched assists on the goal. The Lightning pulled ahead mid-way through the second period as defenseman Jake Dotchin made it 2-1 after a slap shot from the point.

In the third period the Lightning rookies took control as forwards Matthew Peca (2:14) and Joel Vermin (12:08) found the back of the net.

Panthers goaltender Sam Montembeault made his Prospect Tournament debut stopping 19 of 23 shots. Florida selected Montembeault in the third round (77th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.

“The good thing today is that we competed a lot harder than we had the previous two games,” said Portland Pirates Head Coach Tom Rowe. “We played with a lot more pace. I feel that was good.”

“I thought we got a lot better gauge of some of [our prospects] today.”

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