Kitchener, Ontario - Panthers fans that don't follow the Cats transaction line with the same fervency that Alan Greenspan followed the stock market, may not know the names Michael Frolik, Shawn Matthias
and Michal Repik
. But trio's performance as the Cats' most effective forward line in a 2-1 rookie tournament win over the Ottawa Senators conjured visions of similar performances at the BankAtlantic Center in the coming years.
But for now, the young trio will have to settle for rookie camp glory - Repik opened the Cats scoring with assists from Frolik and Matthias - and relative anonymity elsewhere.
The Panthers got the winning goal from left wing Mike Duco, who was a late add in to replace injured forward Brady Calla, who hurt his groin at Thursday's practice. In net, 21-year-old goalie Tyler Plante made 24 saves, with only a third period power play goal standing between him and his first rookie tournament shutout.
But the story of the game was the Cats second line with Matthias centering Czech wings Frolik and Repik. Fans should know Matthias from the 2007 trade deadline, when the 6-3, 211-pounder came over from Detroit in the Todd Bertuzzi trade. Meanwhile, Repik was the Cats second round pick in this past summer's NHL entry draft, while Frolik was the team's first rounder in 2006. All that added up to the Cats first goal and a number of scoring chances including Frolik drilling Sens goalie Brian Elliott in the cage with a slapshot, and Repik just missing a point blank shot on the end of a pretty third period passing play.
The Cats also got stand out performances from defenseman Jordan Henry and 2005 first rounder Kenndal McArdle, who both played physical games against a somewhat bigger Senators team.
The Panthers opened rookie tournament with a win for the first time in the last four years. They outshot the Sens 26-25 including 11-9 in the decisive third period. Both teams had one power play goal while the Cats had six different players record points. Ottawa’s lone goal was scored by Saskatoon native Steven DaSilva. They take the ice again tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Florida Everblades goalie David Shantz will get the nod in goal against the Pens at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.