Panthers Prospects Finish Fourth In Quebec Tournament

By Mark Fischel

HULL, Quebec – The Florida Panthers closed out the four-team 2000 NHL
prospects tournament today, falling 4-3 in a close, well-played game
against the Montreal Canadiens’ prospects at Robert Guertin Arena. The
Panthers led 2-1 entering the third period, but couldn’t protect the
advantage. The Canadiens out-scored the Panthers 3-1 in the final frame
and held off a furious comeback attempt to capture third place in the
tournament. Florida finished in fourth place, with a 1-3 record,
dropping a pair of one-goal contests. The tournament concluded with a
late game between Tampa Bay and Ottawa for the tournament championship.
The Panthers’ main training camp will begin Friday, as veterans report
to Hull. Physicals and off- and on-ice testing for the Panthers’
veterans will take place on Saturday.

FIRST PERIOD: The Canadiens went 0-for-4 on the power play in the first
period, but scored a shorthanded goal on Florida’s first attempt with
the man advantage. Ben Guite scooped up an errant puck at the Montreal
blue line and skated in on Panthers goalie Alexander Auld on a
breakaway. Guite beat Auld for his second goal of the tourney. Auld
stopped 14 of 15 shots in a busy first period, while Montreal goalie
Evan Lindsay stopped all 16 Florida shots. The Panthers were 0-for-1 on
the power play.

SECOND PERIOD: Auld (1999 draft pick, 40th overall) continued his fine
play in net and the Panthers’ offense came alive in the second period as
Florida scored a pair of goals to take a 2-1 lead. Both teams registered
15 shots on goal in the period. Josh Olson, selected by Florida in the
2000 draft (190th overall), tied the score on a backhand in front at the
12:21 mark. Morgan McCormick, a Panther 1999 draft pick (103rd
overall), gave Florida the lead on a slap shot from the top of the right
circle. It was McCormick’s third consecutive game with a goal. Through
two periods of play, Auld stopped 29 of 30 shots.

THIRD PERIOD: Montreal stormed back on goals by Jonathan Beaulieu,
Marc-Andre Thinel and Michael Ryder to grab a 4-2 lead with just 5:20 to
play, but the Panthers didn’t go quietly. Eric Beaudoin, acquired in an
off-season trade from Tampa Bay, deflected a Serge Payer shot past
Lindsay with 1:40 to play, giving the Panthers a chance to come back.
Things seemed to be looking up for Florida, as Mike Green was awarded a
penalty shot with just 33 seconds remaining in regulation. But Lindsay
wasn’t fooled by Green’s fake and stopped the penalty shot. Payer was
masterful at winning faceoffs in the closing seconds, setting up several
near misses by the Panthers, but Lindsay kept Florida at bay to win the
game. There were no penalties in the third period. Florida out-shot
Montreal 21-9 in the period, but scored only once.

Shots 1 2 3 T
Florida 16 15 21 52
Montreal 15 15 9 39

Goals 1 2 3 F
Florida 0 2 1 3
Montreal 1 0 3 4

Power Plays - Florida 0-2, Montreal 0-4.

I must give many thanks go to the Panther Communications Dept for their full work on this game summary.

As always, feel free to write me with any comments or post on applicable team or general message boards

Mark Fischel