The last time the Carolina Hurricanes traveled to Florida, their season was ended via sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals at the hands of the Florida Panthers. For the first time since their defeat in May, they returned to the Sunshine State, this time for the Southeast Rookie Showcase.
In the first of three games, Carolina downed the Panthers 4-1 to start off play in style.
Defenseman Domenick Fensore broke the scoreless tie in the first period, as he found the back of the net following a Vasily Ponomarev shot on the man-advantage.
After entering the intermission with a one goal lead, the Hurricanes would double their advantage in the second period, as forward Noah Gunler delivered on a feed from Jack Beck.
Fensore would record his second point of the night in the second frame, assisting forward Justin Robidas to give Carolina a 3-0 lead.
Florida would get on the board before the second intermission, but the Hurricanes responded with a goal in the third period to give the game its final score.
Goalie Yaniv Perets earned the start in net for Carolina, saving all 12 shot attempts before a planned exit midway through the second period. Jakub Vondras, a 2022 sixth round pick, relieved Perets, allowing the lone goal for the Panthers.
Vondras would go on to save all five shots in the shootout period however, while Carolina’s Ryan Suzuki scored the only goal in the session.
While the performance of the Hurricanes’ prospects has no bearing on the NHL club, their success on the power play, was encouraging. Two of their four scores came on the man-advantage despite the same poor zone entries that troubled Carolina in the postseason.
Maintaining possession was the key for the Hurricanes, holding the advantage in shots on goal to put pressure on Florida’s netminders.
Up next for Carolina is a 3 p.m. matchup against Tampa Bay on Saturday.