Tampa finished strong with an undefeated record of 4-0 this weekend at America’s Showcase in St. Louis, MO. They handed Team Colorado their first loss of the tournament with a score of 7-2. Colorado had a strong start to begin the game testing goaltender Troy Burkhart (Plant) with a flurry of shots. The concentration and focus was a tall task for Burkhart, but when needed, Troy stopped 22 of 24 shots posting an impressive .917 save percentage. A quick wake up call came to Tampa when Colorado struck first scoring three minutes in. This was the first time all tournament that Tampa had given up the first goal. Shortly after that, Tampa shook the dust off and realized that this team was the real deal. Tampa took control of the game and maintained momentum throughout the rest of the game controlling the majority of the possession. A couple in game highlights came from an unexpected pair in Eric Bowles (Durant) and Justin Walker (Newsome) each scoring big goals to help expand the lead. Eric Thompson (East Lake) was quiet this weekend with two assists but made impacts with his physical play and checking in all three zones standing his ground. Thompson’s electric speed kept him in the play at all times and generated multiple opportunities for his linemates to generate offense. His aggressive shot blocking was a difference maker for me today coming in clutch with multiple on the penalty kill. Defenseman Vincent Margosian (Freedom) played exceptionally well today with key defensive stops. In a post-game interview with Margosian he said, “Playing in a new location (St. Louis) allowed me to play against better talent and more exposure in front of scouts, in letting other hockey clubs from across the country get a look at my style of play and work ethic. Coach Alekseev was also a major key to my individual and team success throughout the weekend and I enjoyed playing under his coaching style.”
My takeaway from the tournament was a huge exposure opportunity for our players in Florida that may not get the looks that the teams from up north get. It was a great feeling when we brought 17 players in total on the roster, and 16 of them having the opportunity to speak with scouts from all over North America about their futures and possibilities of taking their hockey careers to the next level. All in all, we as a team had a blast playing and coaching in St. Louis, and are confident that the tournament had a positive impact on the teams’ future in hockey.