10/3 Recap: Kassian spits out four in OHL return

Zack Kassian made a statement in his return to Windsor Sunday, scoring a goal and adding three assists to lead the Spitfires past Sudbury, 6-3. Kassian's four-point night nudged the Spits out of a two-game funk to even their record to 3-3. Marcus Foligno, again skating on a line with John McFarland and Kris Kontos, scored a power play goal and an assist for the Wolves (1-4).

Foligno and Kassian were roommates while with the Sabres, and per the Windsor Star's Bob Duff, the Sudbury checker was impressed with what Kassian brought to the table in their second go-round in Buffalo.

“It was a good time in Buffalo,” Foligno said. “We were actually roommates in Buffalo. He (Kassian) had a great camp.”

Lasting well into pre-season play, both players allowed their minds to drift to the possibility that they might break into the NHL as teenagers. “Once you made the first cuts and most of the junior guys had been sent home, Kassian and I were in the same boat,” said Foligno, who wears the same No. 71 made famous in the NHL by his father Mike. “You kind of start thinking, ‘Maybe I have a chance,’ and your confidence begins to build up. I was happy with what I did there. I thought I impressed them a little bit, got some NHL experience. Hopefully, we’ll both bring it back to this level.”

Lots of folks are excited about Kassian's big night, but in reality he's supposed to perform like this against a lower level of competition after getting a nice slate of NHL work during the Sabres exhibition schedule. The most refreshing development out of Sunday's performance is that his foot seems to be a non-issue after leaving Friday's game in Philadelphia.

Elsewhere in the OHL, Gregg Sutch finished -1 with six penalty minutes as Mississauga suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of Ottawa, 6-2. Sutch was whistled for three stick infractions (two for slashing, one for high sticking) on a night when the Majors were playing their third game in three nights. Tyler Graovac ('11) recorded his first OHL hat trick to lead the 67's.

In the WHL, Riley Boychuk scored his first goal of the season as Portland downed Lethbridge, 6-2. On a second period power play, Ryan Johansen (CBJ) found Boychuk alone in front of the net to give the Hawks a 4-2 lead. Portland (3-1-0-1) has seen all but one of their draftees (Nino Niederreiter) return from NHL camps, setting the talented club on a path to gain a little separation in their division as the Dub season kicks into gear.

Mark Pysyk was even with two minor penalties as Edmonton skated to a 3-2 win over Moose Jaw. The Oil Kings, winners of three in a row, will take a five-day break before hosting Swift Current next Saturday.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (-2) had an assist as Rimouski was doubled on home-ice by Gatineau, 4-2. JGL and the Oceanic (5-4) will host Chicoutimi on Wednesday.

A night after leading his club with three points en route to a victory, Cedrick Henley registered two shots on goal and four hits as Val-d'Or lost in overtime to Lewiston, 5-4. Henley and the Foreurs (4-3-1-0) will host Drummondville on Wednesday.

In the opening weekend of NCAA exhibition play, Brad Eidsness stopped 15 of 16 shots in half a game's worth of work as #2 North Dakota defeated the University of Manitoba, 5-2. The only goal surrendered came when a puck deflected off the skate of dman Ben Blood (OTT) into the ND net.

Connor Knapp faced just four shots in 30:04 of play, stopping them all before giving way to Cody Reichard, as #3 Miami opened the exhibition schedule with a 6-0 shutout of Waterloo.

Nick Eno earned the start for Bowling Green in their exhibition opener with Wilfred Laurier, stopping 11 of 12 shots through a period and a half in the Falcons 4-3 win. The goal allowed by Eno came when former Dartmouth and OHL forward Ryan Bellows pounced on a turnover to quickly beat the 6'3 netminder. Bellows is the nephew of former NHL scorer Brian.

Drew MacKenzie was -2 as Vermont lost to New Brunswick, 3-2. The perennial CIS power Varsity Reds have historically played Hockey East clubs tight, and Sunday proved a good test to a Catamount defense that is expected to be relied on quite heavily this season in Burlington.
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