PANTHERS PROSPECTS BEAT PHOENIX 3-2
HULL, Quebec – The four-team 2001 NHL prospects tournament concluded on Saturday at the Robert-Guertin Arena just outside of Ottawa. The Florida Panthers captured third place by defeating the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2. The Panthers netted the game’s first three goals. D Paul Elliott opened the scoring in the first period and assisted on LW Niklas Hagman’s second period tally. Hagman, the Panthers’ third choice (70th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, swept in the rebound of an Elliott shot for a 2-0 lead. RW Kyle Bruce, an eighth round pick in this year’s draft, gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. C Janis Sprukts earned his second assist of the game on the play. 18-year-old G Billy Thompson, a fifth round pick this year, made 26 stops for the win. He posted a 1-1-0 record and allowed just four goals in two games. Florida finished the tournament with a 1-3-0 record. The Panthers will begin their main training camp in Florida next week with on-ice sessions beginning on Wednesday at Incredible Ice in Coral Springs.
FIRST PERIOD: Elliott blasted the Panthers’ first shot of the game by the Coyotes netminder on a slap shot from the top of the left circle. Sprukts and McCormick earned assists on the play. The Panthers held an 8-6 advantage in shots.
SECOND PERIOD: Hagman and Bruce notched back-to-back goals to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead. Elliott earned his second point of the night with an assist on Hagman’s goal, and Sprukts registered his second assist of the night on Bruce’s tally. 2001 First round draft pick C Stephen Weiss recorded his second point of the tourney with an assist on Hagman’s goal. C Peter Fabus got the Coyotes on the scoreboard in the final minute of the period.
THIRD PERIOD: Thompson and the Panthers’ penalty killers held off the Coyotes attempt to rally. Florida killed off three Phoenix power plays in the final nine minutes. RW Frederik Sjostrom pulled the Coyotes to within one, but Thompson was solid throughout. He stopped 14 of 15 shots in the period. Phoenix outshot Florida 15-6 in the final stanza.