Every Sunday, we will be posting a report featuring the future of the Panthers. The three teams featured weekly are the San Antonio Rampage (AHL), the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL). Additionally, any players in the organization that make noise at the college or junior levels will also be noted. Here is week one of the report:
San Antonio Rampage (AHL)
- The Rampage and head coach Chuck Weber named defenseman Nolan Yonkman captain this week. Yonkman was one of the first signings by the Panthers this offseason, inking a two-way contract with the team on July 2. Centers Bracken Kearns and Mark Cullen will be assistant captains for home games, while center Greg Rallo and defenseman Tyson Strachan will wear the A for road contests. Yonkman and Kearns are the only two players who return from last year’s Rampage squad, as they were affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes last season.
- San Antonio joined Florida in opening their season on Saturday night, defeating the Chicago Wolves 3-2 in a shootout. Kearns opened the season’s scoring just 27 seconds into the game, the quickest start in the teams 10 year history. Rookie Jonathan Hazen joined the scoring, tying the game at 2 in the second period. It was his first professional goal in his first professional game. A.J. Jenks scored the lone shootout goal to break the tie. Manny Legace started the game in net, but was relieved after one period by Brian Foster. The game was played in front of a record-shattering crowd of 9,062 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. The previous record was 8,536 on Opening Night 10 years ago. The Rampage suit up next on October 14 at home against the San Antonio Barons.
Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)
- The Cyclones opened their preseason schedule with a home-and-home split with the Wheeling Nailers. On Friday, the Cyclones fell 4-1 in Wheeling. Justin Vavie scored the lone goal. The Cyclones had better luck Saturday, beating Wheeling 3-2 in overtime. Garrett Wilson and Adam Comrie scored two goals in the first period, and Mathieu Aubin scored the overtime game winner. Cincinnati opens their regular season on October 15 at the Kalamazoo Wings.
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL)
- Training Camp opens October 10.
Juniors and College
- Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists in his 2011 QMJHL debut as Saint John defeated Rimouski 8-2.
- Drew Shore had two assists in University of Denver’s 3-0 victory over the USA Under-18 Development team.
- 2011 2nd round pick Rocco Grimaldi played in his first collegiate game for the North Dakota Flying Sioux this week, but was held off the scoresheet. Corban Knight had a goal in each of the two games the Fighting Sioux have played this season.
- Meanwhile, Nick Bjugstad scored two goals in his season opener, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers topped the Sacred Heart Pioneers 9-2. 2011 third round selection Kyle Rau had a goal and assist in the game.
- Wade Megan scored a goal in Boston University’s Hockey East opener, a 5-0 rout of New Hampshire.