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Panthers Prospects Win First Game of 2015 Rookie Tournament

by Chrissy Parente / Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers Prospects took to the ice this afternoon at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla for the first game of the 2015 Rookie Tournament against the Washington Capitals rookies.

Florida Panthers 2015 first round pick (11th overall) Lawson Crouse made his Rookie Tournament debut on a line with Rocco Grimaldi and Matt Leitner. After the game, Crouse spoke about the importance of these rookie camps and tournaments.

“It’s your first step and a little taste of the NHL although you’re playing against rookies here, it’s still a fun experience and still a good learning experience,” said Crouse.

The Panthers rookies controlled much of the action in the first period putting up seven shots on Washington’s goaltender Vitek Vanecek.

During the second period, Capitals defenseman Connor Hobbs scored the first goal of the game giving the Capitals the 1-0 lead.

The Panthers rallied back when F Connor Brickley scored at 13:51of the third period to tie the game at one. After the game Brickley talked about his late game-tying goal.

“When I crossed the blue line I noticed that I had a little time. I had passed up some chances earlier in the game and we were down by one so I just wanted to get the puck on net. I snapped a pretty good one off and I was fortunate to get the goal,” said Brickley.

After a five-minute overtime, the game went into a shootout between the two teams. Panthers Prospect Jayce Hawryluk was the lone shootout scorer and gave the Panthers the 2-1 victory with G Sam Brittain stopping all three of Washington’s shooters.

The Panthers have now won four consecutive rookie tournament games including last year’s tournament. The team went undefeated during last year’s rookie tournament in Nashville.

The 2015 Rookie Tournament will continue tomorrow when the Panthers face off against Nashville Predators at 3 p.m.

Click here for a schedule of this weekend's tournament.

Photos courtesy of Al Larson

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