Newly acquired center Steven Shipley put forth a strong third period effort Thursday, fueling Niagara's dominating finish with a power play assist and the game winning goal just 2:16 later in the Ice Dogs 5-4 win over visiting Erie. The multi-point effort is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Sabres 2010 fourth rounder after last week's requested trade out of Owen Sound. It was mentioned when the deal went down, but Shipley has the talent to post 85-95 points in Niagara - especially if coach Marty Williamson decides to use him in front of the net on the power play. Ryan Strome ('11) paced the Dogs with a goal and two assists, while fellow 2011 hopeful David Broll was -1 for the Otters.
Fresh off a two-and-a-half week stay in Buffalo, Marcus Foligno (-1) recorded no points and four penalty minutes as Sudbury fell to Saginaw, 4-1. The edgy Foligno, who is expected to eventually line-up with Panthers prospect John McFarland and ex- Chicago Steel Andrej Kuchin, had just stepped out of the box when talented '11 Vincent Trocheck scored a fluke goal from behind the net for the game winner late in the second period. Saginaw's other 2011 stud, Brandon Saad, notched an insurance goal with a third period backhander.
In Wednesday WHL action, Mark Pysyk (+2, 2 PIM) earned an even-strength assist in his season debut as Edmonton defeated Prince Albert, 3-1. Earlier in the week, the 18-year old defenseman was named the Oil Kings team captain for the 2010-11 season immediately upon return from the Sabres main camp.
In Vancouver, Riley Boychuk (-1) racked up 10 minutes in penalties as Portland defeated the Giants, 4-3. Boychuk's infractions included one for unsportsmanlike conduct and double-minors for high sticking and roughing. Spencer Bennett (CAL) had two goals and Ty Rattie ('11) added a goal and an assist for the Winterhawks.
The Sabres were so quick to get Jerome Gauthier-Leduc home over the weekend that I missed his game on Sunday. The 6'1 defender made it to Rimouski for their 4:00 start and went on to notch a pair of second period assists in the Nics 9-2 trouncing of Halifax.
In other mid-week odds and ends, the Sabres have returned Brayden McNabb to the WHL's Kootenay Ice. After making it back to Cranbrook on Thursday, the 6'4, 216-pound McNabb will anchor the Ice's top pair for Friday's game against Spokane as his quest to make Team Canada begins. McNabb was +1 with a shot on goal in 15:06 of time in one pre-season game with the Sabres.
Staying in the Dub, Kevin Sundher has been named an alternate captain for the Chilliwack Bruins. The 6'0 center, who is another Sabres prospect who has 80-90 points in him, will be in the Bruins lineup Saturday against Corey Fienhage and Kamloops. Fienhage, 20, wears an "A" for the Blazers.
Finally, the BMO CHL MasterCard top rankings have come out for week #2, with the Mississauga Majors (Gregg Sutch) holding down the #2 spot. The hard-checking forward will make his season debut Friday when the Memorial Cup hosts square off with Windsor. The Spits of course will be without the services of their own hard hitter with Zack Kassian serving as the final CHL prospect remaining in Sabres camp.