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Panthers Prospects: Sourdif, Benning shine in opening games



Panthers prospects
Justin Sourdif meets the South Florida media after signing his entry-level deal with the Florida Panthers during the training camp. Now the captain of the Vancouver Giants, Sourdif is off to a great start to his junior season. // @GeorgeRichards

After returning to their respective teams for the season, Florida Panthers prospects are already off to a roaring start to the 2021-22 campaign.

With college hockey starting this past weekend, Canadian junior hockey in its second week of the season, and the Charlotte Checkers starting their season later this month, there are a lot of Florida Panthers prospects to follow.

Here are some of the best performances of the week:

C Justin Sourdif (WHL, Vancouver Giants)

Coming off of a two-point performance in the Vancouver Giants’ season opener, Justin Sourdif put on a show yet again in week two of the WHL season.

Going up against the Prince George Cougars on Friday, Oct. 8, the Panthers’ 2020 third-round pick had a goal and two assists, and one of those two assists was a thing of beauty.

Sourdif’s five points and three assists on the season lead the Giants, who have won their first two games of the season.

He was also named captain of the team prior to the season started after a successful first camp with the Panthers.

“Justin Sourdif is a homegrown Vancouver Giant who understands the importance and the significance of this honor,” Vancouver Giants head coach Michael Dyck said. “His work ethic, character, on-ice ability, and the respect that he’s earned from his teammates and the coaching staff are all factors that made us confident in naming him our captain.”

Panthers fans can catch Sourdif in action next week, as the Giants take on the Kamloops Blazers on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 7:00 p.m.

G Kiril Gerasimyuk (MHL, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg)

Notching a start on Friday, Oct. 8 against Russie Vityazi, Kiril Gerasimyuk shined, stopping 25 of the 27 (.926 SV%) shots he faced. He took the team to overtime after stopping all seven of the shots he faced in the third period to help the team win 3-2.

Gerasimyuk moves to 6-2-0 with a .933/1.87, ranking in the top 10 of the MHL in both save percentage and goals-against-average.

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The Panthers selected Gerasmiyuk with their fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft after he put up a 14-13-0 record with a .931/2.59.

SKA-1946 St. Petersberg and Gerasimyuk will take on HC Kapitan on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 12:00 p.m.

D Mike Benning (NCAA, University of Denver)

Mike Benning and the University of Denver Pioneers started the 2021-22 NCAA Hockey season 2-0-0 after defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils in each of their two meetings this past weekend.

The Panthers’ 2020 fourth-round pick shined over the weekend, scoring a goal and an assist to start himself off at a point-per-game pace through the opening two games of the season.

The 5-8, 179-pound defenseman had three goals and 11 points in 21 games last year, and now he ranks second in points from defensemen on the Pioneers.

Benning is a savvy defenseman who can create space offensively and carries a great playmaking ability and he showcased that during the opening weekend of the college hockey season.

The Pioneers will be back in action this weekend against the Air Force Falcons, as they will next take the ice on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 9 p.m.

Games PlayedGoals Assists Points
C Justin Sourdif
(WHL, Vancouver Giants)
D Mike Benning
(NCAA, University of Denver)
C Aleksi Saarela
(NL, SCL Tigers)
C Mackie Samoskevich
(NCAA, University of Michigan)
D Carter Berger
(NCAA, University of Connecticut)
D Tyler Inamoto
(NCAA, University of Wisconsin)
C Owen Lindmark
(NCAA University of Wisconsin)
D Braden Hache
(OHL, Kingston Frontenacs)
D Cole Krygier
(NCAA, Michigan State University)
D Kasper Puutio
(Liiga, KalPa)
D Santtu Kinnunen
(Liiga, Tappara)
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