The Tampa Bay Lightning rookie tournament that was originally scheduled to be held in Estero, Florida at the home of the Florida Everblades was cancelled due to concerns with Hurricane Irma. The arena was converted to a hurricane shelter. The Lightning scheduled a three-game mini-tournament with the Nashville Predators in Antioch, Tennessee at the Ford Ice Center.
Our Tampa Bay Lightning Writer Brayden Olofson was able to follow some of the games and provided this feedback.
Game #1 Final Score: Nashville – 4, Tampa Bay – 2
Christopher Paquette and Oleg Sosunov got burnt on Nashville’s opening goal. Sosunov got stuck flat-footed watching the play approach him, and Paquette failed to commit his full speed to defending the wiry 5-6 Tyler Kelleher.
Mikhail Sergachev netted Tampa’s first goal to even the score at 1-1, wiring a quick slap shot into an empty Nashville Predators cage. Mathieu Joseph started the play by rushing the net from the corner and pulling the Nashville netminder out of position, allowing Sergachev the opportunity for a clear shot on net.
Alexei Lipanov jumped on a puck in a scrappy net-front battle in the second period to net Tampa’s second goal, giving them a 2-1 lead. He had the help of fellow 2017 draftee, Alexander Volkov in creating the opportunity in the blue paint.
The Pred’s returned the favor when Alex Volkov lost a race to a moving puck on the outside hash marks. Nashville’s Alexandre Carrier regained the zone and shoveled the puck towards Connor Ingram from a sharp angle. After some poking at the corner the puck leaked through, tying the game at 2-2.
Sergachev seemed to struggle guarding the front of the Lightning net, but ultimately it was Eric Cernak who made the costly turnover in the Lightning defensive corner that lead to the Predator game winning goal by Emil Pettersson.
Game #2 Final Score: Tampa Bay – 6, Nashville – 1
As in game #1, Alex Volkov’s speed was on display, earning an early breakaway that he failed to bury past Predators netminder Matt O’Connor
Anthony Cirelli had a stand-out play that lead to the Lightning opening goal. His edgework and vision were on display as he faked-out the Predator defender along the boards and then found Erik Cernak in the slot. Cernak got a quick shot off, and Cirelli was there quickly to help Mathieu Joseph poke in the rebound.
Callan Foote failed to close the gap on a slow moving Christian Hilbrich who gained the Lightning zone effortlessly. HIlbrich left a drop pass for a teammate, and eventually positioning himself in front of the net to shovel the puck in from a scramble.
Boris Katchouk connected with invitee, Kevin Hancock of the Owen Sound Attack who was able to stretch out for another Lightning goal.
Connor Ingram looked better for the Lightning in his