Coral Springs Prospects Tournament
Florida Panthers 4 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 1
In what was likely the last competitive game for the Tampa Bay Lightning in their "bridge" uniforms (uniforms bridging the original logo/look to the new, seemingly permanent one), the Baby Bolts lost to the Panthers 4-1 Wednesday.
With the loss, the Lightning finished the Coral Springs prospect tournament 0-3, being outscored 15-6. This was a disappointing showing for a group that includes top prospects Brett Connolly (1 goal in 3 games), Carter Ashton (0 goals), Richard Panik (0 goals), Vladimir Namestnikov (0 goals), and Mark Barberio.
Pat Nagle allowed two goals on 14 shots before being replaced by Jaroslav Janus, who allowed one goal the rest of the way. The Panthers' fourth goal was awarded to the team when Barberio reportedly pulled down a Panther heading for an empty net goal.
Tyler Johnson, an undrafted free agent signed by Tampa Bay last year, scored the Lightning's lone goal, unassisted.
Assistant General Manager Tom Kurvers told tampabaylightning.com that 5-foot-8 forward Cory Conacher, who led the Lightning with two goals in the tournament, "has some things that small men need in order to play in the NHL. He has speed, puck skill, hockey sense and he has determination." Conacher is on a Norfolk contract, but appears he could be playing himself into an NHL deal in the future.
The Lightning's official web site said Connolly (pictured) drew praise from Jon Cooper, Norfolk Admiral Coach, who was behind the bench for all three tournament games.
â€œHeâ€™s got phenomenal talent,â€ Cooper told the site. â€œI thought day in and day out he was our best player at the tournament, and you hope [for] that from your first round pick and he delivered.â€