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Trio Play Huge Roles In Series Openers

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Looking For Championships

Several Panthers prospects are aiming for league and national championships this spring.


(OHL) Owen Sound 3, London 2 OT - GAME SHEET
(OHL) Saginaw 3, Guelph 2 - GAME SHEET
(OHL) Oshawa 10, Kingston 1 - GAME SHEET
(QMJHL) Quebec 7, Val-d'Or 2 - GAME SHEET
(WHL) Red Deer 5, Edmonton 3 - GAME SHEET
(WHL) Moose Jaw 4, Kootenay 0 - GAME SHEET
(NCAA) Minnesota-Duluth 2, Union 0 - GAME SHEET

By Glenn Odebralski for

It was the first full day of playoff action for the Panthers prospects and several young Cats had big nights as Quinton Howden, Garrett Wilson and Alex Petrovic helped lead their teams to victory. Howden and Wilson netted two goals each while Petrovic picked up three assists as Moose Jaw, Owen Sound and Red Deer all one opening games in their series.

In Owen Sound, Wilson (4th round pick - 107th overall - in the 2009 NHL Draft) scored two of the Attack's three goals, including the game-winner 1:55 into overtime as they knocked off London 3-2. Wilson would give Owen Sound a 2-1 lead 7:22 into the second but London tied it up 56 seconds later. Owen Sound held a 53-23 shot advantage. The two teams will meet up in Game 2 Saturday night.

Over in Kootenay, Howden, the Panthers 1st-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft (#25 overall), did his damage in the first period. He scored the Warriors second goal of the period 7:10 in and then netted the third just 51 seconds later while his team was shorthanded. The Warriors would end up winning 4-0 to take a 1-0 series lead.

The place Randy Moller made famous, potential number-one pick in the 2011 NHL Draft Ryan Nugent-Hopkins netted two goals, the game-winner and the clincher, and assisted on two others while Petrovic picked up the three assists as Red Deer outlasted Edmonton 5-3. The Panthers second-round pick (36th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft, Petrovic registered the first assist on Red Deer's first goal of the game 6:32 into the game and then picked up the second assist on their secon at the 12:20 mark as they held a 2-1 lead after one period of play over Edmonton. After the Oil Kings tied it at three 11:08 into the final period, Nugent-Hopkins took over, scoring the game-winner with 5:35 left and then cemented the victory on a power play goal helped set up by Petrovic 1:06 later. They'll try to take a two-game lead Sunday night.

In their first game, the second-seed Saginaw Spirit were pushed to the limit against the underdog Guelph Storm as they had to come back on two different occasions but they did and won 3-2. Saginaw trailed just 3:21 into the game but tied it less than three minutes later. The Storm would score with less than four minutes to play in the second and held a 2-1 lead after forty minutes of play. The Spirit scored 9:03 into the final period to tie it and then got the winner 2:18 later for the victory. Second-round pick (33rd overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft John McFarland was held scorless but will have a chance to get on the board tomorrow night in the teams' second game of the series.

Opening up their quest for a National Title, Minnesota-Duluth scored both their goals on the power play as they blanked Union in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They will take on top-seed in the East, Yale, on Saturday night. Joe Basaraba (5th-round pick in 2010 NHL draft) was held off the score sheet.

It wasn't a perfect night as Kingston (OHL) and Val-d'Or both fell by convincing scores.

In Oshawa, 1st-round pick (3rd overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft Erik Gudbranson, 6th-round pick (153rd overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft Corey Durocher and the Kingston Frontenacs were soundly beat for the second game in a row. After falling 7-3 last night, Oshawa responded to a first period goal by the visitors by scoring ten straight in a 10-1 victory. Gudbranson and Durocher failed to dent the scoresheet in both games.

The third-seed Quebec Remparts scored four first period goals on their way to a 7-2 victory over recently signed Jonathan Hazen and his Val-d"Or Foreurs. Hazen could not find the scoresheet in the teams' first game of the series. Game two is Saturday night.
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