An explosive one-sided offensive filled game between the Lightning High School Hockey League (LHSHL) All-Stars and the Florida Panthers Scholastic Hockey League (FPSHL) All-Stars in Estero, FL at the Germain Arena had the score sheet tilted at 12-1 in favor of the good guys LHSHL. A modified game had the first period split for the first half consisting of a 10 minute penalty kill, followed by a 10 minute power play. The power play was efficient and straight to the point, with the PP units putting up 7 goals on the extra man advantage. Zach Katz (Seminole) lit up the score sheet with 3 goals and 4 assists. A strong defensive performance from a short bench running only four defensive players including Maxx Mitchell (Seminole), Maxwell Budd (Mitchell), Joseph Davis (Wiregrass), and Vincent Margosian (Freedom) only allowing 15 total shots through 40 minutes. The one goal allowed was on a penalty shot with less than a minute left that got the best of Daniel McCarthy (River Ridge). Other than the one hiccup allowed by Daniel he stood strong between the pipes all game long and even tallied an assist. The bout was a good strong fought battle that was physical and quick north and south, with great passing and movement with the puck throughout all three zones. Demitri Samarkos (East Lake) had a big afternoon on the stat sheet as well tallying 6 points in game 1, we will see in the afternoon game if Katz and Samarkos can rack up the score sheet again in the evening game.
The two teams are scheduled for another practice game with the same format tonight at Germain Arena at 6:45 pm tonight. Another good practice game will be needed for both teams in preparation for their America’s showcase tournament coming up in approximately a week and a half in St. Louis. Goaltender Troy Burkhart (Plant) will get the call for the late game tonight. in preparation of the late game, Burkhart hopes more shots, and more chances with odd-man rushes in preparation for St. Louis.
Assistant Coach Tom Garavaglia states in preparation for the evening game that, “we saw a lot of good things in the first game. Regardless of the score, these games are designed to work on any soft spots; and we have areas where we can improve and we will re-tool between games and see what happens.”
As expected, a strong performance from Troy Burkhart (Plant) between the pipes in the second game of the two-game tuneup series between the Lightning High School Hockey League (LHSHL) and the Florida Panthers Scholastic Hockey League (FPSHL) held at Germain Arena in South Florida. Burkhart faced 15 shots allowing two goals giving the win to team Tampa Bay 4-1.
His time in net he was exactly what he was hoping for, facing 18 shots and multiple odd-man rushes against high level competition in preparation of America's Showcase in St. Louis, April 18-22. Burkhart's remarkable focus, coupled with continued fire power up front, kept team Tampa Bay in the game. One key player that shined in both games that wasn't on the stat sheet with many goals or assists in the weekend series, but was a steady force on the blueline was defenseman Maxx Mitchell (Seminole). His positioning and movement through all three zones did not go unnoticed. The quick and efficient break out of the defensive zone into the neutral zone and confidence was controlled beautifully and is something to watch for come tournament time in St. Louis. Samarkos and Katz both maintained the offensive fire power they provided in the first game with 6 combined points.
Aside from one remaining practice, the weekend warm-up series against the FPSHL All-Stars marks the final preparations for Team Tampa Bay prior to heading to America's Showcase.
The squad heads to St. Louis representing the best players from the Lightning High School Hockey League on April 18th. Throughout the showcase, Team Tampa Bay will play a minimum of 4 games against high school all star teams from across the United States.