Showing posts with label boychuk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boychuk. Show all posts

Sunday, March 18, 2012

3/17 Recap: Shipley tunes up as Dogs eye run

Steven Shipley scored a goal and two assists Saturday as Niagara hammered Ottawa, 7-3. The 6'3 center is coming on of late on a line with Mitchell Theoret and David Pacan, scoring six goal and 10 points in his last seven games. After finishing the regular season on Sunday with a trip to Mississauga, the top-seeded IceDogs will open the 2012 playoffs on Thursday versus Oshawa.

Dan Catenacci snapped a five-game funk with a faceoff win assist as Owen Sound lost to Guelph, 3-1. With the pair of weekend losses to the Storm, the Attack slip to a 6th place finish in the OHL Western Conference. Owen Sound will be without leading scorer Mike Halmo (suspension) for the entire first round playoff match-up with Kitchener, meaning that Catenacci, who finished the regular season with 33 goals and 72 points, will need to step it up if the Attack is to defend their league crown.

Cedrick Henley recorded an assist as Val-d'Or defeated Baie-Comeau, 7-4. The 6'5 power forward finishes the regular season as Val-d'Or's seventh leading scorer, posting a career-best 13 goals and 39 points in 53 games. The Foreurs will wait for the outcome of Sunday action to learn where they'll be traveling for the first round of the QMJHL playoffs.

Gregg Sutch and Alex Lepkowski did not factor as Barrie was rolled by Brampton, 5-2. Sutch was stung late when he blocked a shot but should be good to go next week when the Colts begin the playoffs at home versus Mississauga.

Colin Jacobs logged a -1 as Seattle lost to Everett, 6-4. The Thunderbirds will now face a must-win situation on Sunday when they battle Portland in the final game of the regular season. Currently two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, a Seattle victory will force a one-game tiebreaker with Everett on Tuesday.

Mark Pysyk finished +1 as Edmonton finished the regular season with a 7-3 win over Red Deer. The Oil Kings, who enter the WHL playoffs as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, will face defending league champion Kootenay in the first round. The first two games will be played at Rexall on Friday and Sunday.

Nathan Lieuwen made 14 saves as Kootenay was blanked by Calgary, 3-0. The ICE 2011-12 co-MVP, Lieuwen finishes the regular season with 27 wins (11th in WHL), a 2.50 goals against average (3rd) and .914 save percentage (5th).

Brad Eidsness backed up as North Dakota reeled off their seventh straight win to claim the WCHA Final Five Championship with a 4-0 shutout win over Denver. The Sioux victory gives them the automatic bid into the NCAA brackets. Their opponent will be announced Sunday at noon.

Kevin Sundher did not play as Brandon closed out the regular season with a 7-2 win over Regina. The Wheat Kings, who finish as the #6 seed in the WHL Eastern Conference, will hope to have the speedy center back on Thursday when they begin their opening round playoff series at Calgary.


In AHL play, blueliners T.J. Brennan (14th) and Nick Crawford (4th) added regulation goals and Paul Szczechura scored in overtime as Rochester edged Binghamton, 4-3.

Travis Turnbull also scored for the Amerks while David Leggio made 33 stops for his fifth win in his last six starts.

The Rundown:
Brennan: G, +1, 6 SOG
Crawford: G, +1, 2 SOG
Lagace: 2 SOG
Adam: -1, 4 SOG
Biega: +1, 2 SOG
Szydlowski: +1

On Friday, Orchard Park native Nick Schaus scored a late power play goal to give Syracuse a 4-3 win over the Amerks. Szczechura and fellow vets Colin Stuart and Evan Rankin provided the Rochester marks, while Phil Varone added two assists.

The Rundown:
Brennan: A, -3, 5 PIM
Biega: A,
Adam: A, 4 SOG
Lagace: 2 PIM
Crawford: +1
Szydlowski: even

Winners of eight of their last 10, the Amerks welcome Syracuse to the BCA for mid-week tilt on Wednesday.


In Texas, Drew Schiestel recorded an assist as Texas dropped both ends of a Friday/Saturday set to Oklahoma City. Schiestel has four assists and a +1 rating in six games since being re-assigned to the Stars top affiliate.


In the Coast League, Corey Fienhage picked up a pair of assists and Jonathan Parker chipped in a helper as Gwinnett held on for a 4-3 win over Greenville. Riley Boychuk recorded two shots on net in the win.

Since we haven't fed the savages in a while, here's a clip of Boychuk refining his pugilistic skills last weekend against the Road Warriors.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Amerks streak ends at three

In Friday AHL play, goals by Brayden McNabb and Luke Adam got Rochester out to a 2-0 lead, but Grand Rapids struck three times in the third to overcome the Amerks, 4-3. The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Sabres farmhands.

McNabb gave Rochester a 1-0 lead when he jumped into the slot to beat Ty Conklin for his fourth of the year at 14:54 of the first.

At 1:51 of the second, Rochester gained the two-goal lead when Adam scarfed up a rebound for his first goal in an Amerks sweater.

After the Griffins cashed three straight tallies, T.J. Brennan added his 12th of the year on the power play to tie the game with under seven minutes to play.

Francis Pare answered for Grand Rapids three minutes later to cap the scoring.

David Leggio finished with 28 saves in defeat, while Phil Varone picked up a pair of assists for his seventh multi-point game of the year.

The Rundown:
McNabb: G, -1, 2 SOG
Adam: G, +1, 6 SOG
Brennan: PPG, 4 SOG
Foligno: 5 PIM
Szydlowski: 2 SOG
Crawford: -2
Persson: -1

The Amerks will be in Toronto on Saturday to begin a back-to-back set with the first place Marlies.


In the ECHL, Corey Fienhage scored in part of a four-goal third period as Gwinneett as poured it on last to earn an 8-6 win over Trenton. Matt MacKenzie (7 SOG) and Riley Boychuk picked up assists in the win, while Jonathan Parker logged a -3 rating.

Monday, February 20, 2012

2/20 Recap: Pysyk produces; Parker marks

Mark Pysyk had a busy Monday, scoring a goal and two assists in the final twenty minutes as Edmonton clawed their way back from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 5-4 shootout win over Medicine Hat. Entering play with no goals in his previous 12 games, Pysyk knotted the score at 3-3 with his fifth of the year in the 55th minute. After the Tigers regained the lead with under three minutes to play, Pysyk got the puck to the net for Dylan Wruck's game-tying tally with 37 seconds left in regulation. The three-point effort was Pysyk's fourth of the season.

In OHL play, Gregg Sutch and Alex Lepkowski were each held without a point as Barrie cruised to a 6-1 win over Oshawa. Sutch has gone without a point in his last five games. Not known for his offensive numbers, Lepkowski has one in his last 16 games.

In the ECHL, Jonathan Parker scored his first goal in a Gladiators uniform as Gwinnett lost at Cincinnati, 3-2. Riley Boychuk added an assist for the Glads, while Shawn Szydlowski recorded four shots on goal. The trio has combined for two goals and seven points in three games since being sent being assigned to the ECHL.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

11/24 Recap: Leduc lifts Nics; Boychuk nails Nailer

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc notched a regulation goal and then the only marker in the shootout to lead Rimouski to a 4-3 win over Gatineau. The goal, Leduc's 13th of the year, gives the puck mover 35 points through his first 24 games. The Oceanic (16-13-0-0) travel to Blainville-Boisbriand on Friday.

In ECHL play, Riley Boychuk earned his second fighting major of the year as Gwinnett was handled by Wheeling, 5-1. With the Gladiators trailing 4-1 midway through the third, Boychuk dropped journeyman Joe Tolles with a one punch knock out. Corey Fienhage recorded a shot on goal in the loss. The Glads (8-6-2-2) will rematch with the first-place Nailers on Friday.

Elsewhere, Gregg Sutch finished even as Barrie earned a 4-3 shootout win over Sarnia. Alex Lepkowski sat out with a back injury, while stud 2012 prospect Nail Yakupov scored a pair of goals, an assist, and a shootout tally to lead the Sting in a losing effort. The Colts (12-8-2-1) will put their four-game winning streak on the line Friday at London.

Steven Shipley did not factor into the scoring as Niagara dumped Brampton, 6-1. Niagara (12-10-0-2) will square off with Windsor on Friday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

11/20 Recap: Cat cashes two, Lieuwen bests Giants

Dan Catenacci scored two goals Sunday as Owen Sound was toppled in overtime by London, 3-2. The injury-riddled Attack competed hard after getting ripped by coach Greg Ireland for Saturday's soft effort, but eventually lost via a power play in the OT. Max Domi ('13) had a goal and two helpers for London. With four points in two weekend losses to the CHL's top-ranked Knights, Catenaci ups his team-leading totals to 14 goals and 29 points in his first 26 games. The Attack (12-12-2) will take a two-game road trip to Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie beginning Friday.

In WHL play, Nathan Lieuwen made 27 saves to guide Kootenay to a 4-1 win over Vancouver. The 6'5 netminder, who entered the contest without a win in his three previous starts, shut the door with 22 stops over the final thirty minutes to halt the Giants winning streak at six. Sam Reinhart ('14) paced the winners with a goal and three assists. Lieuwen will look to get win #12 when the ICE (15-5-1-2) travel to Prince George on Tuesday.

Gregg Sutch played even with a minor penalty as Barrie won at Kingston, 3-1. The 6'2 grinder has just one assist in his last six games while finding himself outside of the scoring lines. Colts blueliner Alex Lepkowski did not play for the second straight game with a sore back. Barrie (11-8-2-1) will next head to Sarnia on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Steven Shipley finished -1 as Niagara lost to Ottawa, 5-2. With four goals in 19 games (.21 per game), the fourth-year man in pace for the fewest goals of his OHL career. The IceDogs (11-10-0-2) are on until Thursday when they host Brampton.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (-1) sent three shots on goal as Rimouski was nipped by Halifax, 2-1. Despite scoring just once in his last 13 games, Leduc continues to lead all Q defenders with 12 goals and 34 points. The Oceanic (15-13-0-0) travel to Gatineau on Thursday.

Brad Eidsness backed up Aaron Dell for the seventh straight game as North Dakota was blanked at Bemidji, 1-0. The Sioux slide to a 4-7-1 on the year heading into next weekend's set with Colorado College. Eidsness, a senior, has started just eight of the Sioux's last 56 contests since being named an All-WCHA 2nd teamer as a sophomore.

In ECHL play, Riley Boychuk scored his first professional goal but it was all Gwinnett could muster in suffering a 6-1 loss to South Carolina. The 6'5 wing, who paced all skaters with six shots on goal, wired home a power play tally at 15:53 of the third to break Philip Grubauer's shutout. Corey Fienhage was -3 for the Gladiators (8-5-2-2, 2nd place South Division).

Amerks swept; Fienhage, Boychuk hook up

Marcus Foligno and T.J. Brennan each scored goals Saturday but Rochester couldn't close the deal, instead suffering their second straight loss to North Division rival Toronto, 3-2. The Amerks, who entered the weekend riding a four-game winning streak that had kept them in first-place, exit two points behind the division-leading Marlies with an 8-7-2-1 record.

A night after his costly pinch resulted in the game winning goal, Brayden McNabb posted a pair of assists from the Amerks blueline.

Foligno opened the game's scoring from long range, beating Swedish rap star Mark Owuya for his seventh goal of the year at 1:34 of the first period.

With the game tied 1-1 in the middle frame, T.J. Brennan scored his third of the season by tipping a McNabb shot past Owuya.

The Amerks, whose power play is sure to get some attention in practice this week after going a combined 0/11 in the two one-goal losses, welcome Albany to the BCA on Friday.

The Rundown:
Foligno: G, +1, 3 SOG
Brennan: G, +1, 2 SOG
McNabb: 2A, +2, 2 SOG
Kassian: +1, 5 SOG
Schiestel: 1 SOG
Lagace: even
MacKenzie: even
Crawford: -1, 1 SOG
Biega: -1, 2 SOG
Szydlowski: -1


In ECHL action, Corey Fienhage scored his third goal of the season as Gwinnett gave up a late marker in a 3-2 loss to South Carolina. Fienhage opened scoring at 11:59 of the first when he and Riley Boychuk broke away for a 2x1 rush. Boychuk earned his first ECHL point on the play.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Amerks lose; Boychuk scraps in Coast League debut

Big Joe Finley scored his first goal as an Amerk Friday, but Rochester saw their four-game winning streak halted in a 2-1 loss to Toronto. With the game knotted 1-1 in the final frame, the Amerks allowed a shorthanded goal with 2:28 left to slip to 8-6-2-1 on the year.

From Kevin O.'s Rochester D&C Recap:

The tie will be broken today when the teams play again, this time in Toronto at 3 p.m.

"We have to get it back and cancel this out and save the weekend," said defenseman Joe Finley, who scored the Amerks goal 6:38 into the first period.

The Amerks thought they were in great position to win the game as they headed to a power play with only 3:25 to play.

Instead, the Marlies penalty killers pressured the Amerks into a turnover, and from the giveaway came D'Amigo's goal, his third of the season.

The Rundown:
Szydlowski: A, +1
Kassian: -1, 3 SOG
McNabb: -1, 1 SOG, 4 PIM
Foligno: even
Crawford: 4 SOG
Biega: 2 PIM
Parker: -1
Schiestel: -2, 1 SOG
MacKenzie: even
Lagace: even


Riley Boychuk made his ECHL debut Friday, posting four shots on goal and his first professional fighting major as Gwinnett downed South Carolina, 4-2. Boychuk tangled with Washington prospect Dustin Stevenson on his very first shift of the game. Corey Fienhage finished -1 with a roughing minor.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/16 Recap: Brennan, Foligno lead Amerks to another win

Marcus Foligno scored the game winning goal Wednesday as Rochester extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-2 win over Syracuse. T.J. Brennan added a goal and an assist to keep the Amerks in first place in the AHL's North Division.

The game's #1 star, Brennan would outshoot the Crunch by himself in the first period (4-3) en route to firing a game-high six shots on goal. The third-year pro has steadily improved his play in both ends of the ice this season.

Foligno potted the winner, his sixth of the year, on the power play with 6:10 left to play in the third period.

The Amerks, who outshot the Crunch 44-24 in the win, will begin a home-and-home series with division rival Toronto on Friday.

On Tuesday, the Amerks announced that they have sent Riley Boychuk to Gwinnett of the ECHL.

The Rundown:

Brennan: G, A, 6 SOG

Foligno: GWG, 5 SOG
Kassian: A, +1, 5 SOG
Crawford: A
McNabb: +1, 5 SOG
Schiestel: SOG
Biega: even
Szydlowski: even
Parker: -1
MacKenzie: even


Jerome Gauthier-Leduc notched two assists Wednesday as Rimouski downed Bathurst, 4-1. The 6'1 rearguard remains the QMJHL's top defensive scorer with 33 points through his first 21 games. The Oceanic will host Quebec on Friday.

Cedrick Henley registered an assist as Val-d'Or dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Blainville-Boisbriand. The apple snaps a three-game slumber for the 6'5 wing. Les Foreurs will travel to Gatineau Friday for a nationally televised contest.

In the OHL, Dan Catenacci was unable to get on the scoresheet as Owen Sound defeated Erie, 3-1. The speedy center has scored in just one of his last dozen games after piling eight goals in his first 12 games. The Attack will welcome London to town on Saturday.

Joel Armia picked up an assist in just 12:56 of work as Assat edged Jokerit, 4-3. Armia will look for points in two straight when Assat travels to Ilves on Friday.


In Subway Super Series play, Kevin Sundher battled back from injury after missing Victoria's two weekend games to earn 14-minutes in penalties as Team WHL defeated Russia, 5-2. Sundher, who looked to have re-injured after going for a hit, earned the majority of his shame after being whistled for a checking from behind minor and ten-minute misconduct at 3:58 of the opening period. Mark Pysyk did not dress for Team WHL after being injured in Saturday's loss at Kamloops.

On Monday, Catenacci skated even as Team OHL doubled the Russians, 6-3.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10/18 Recap: Amerks win game, pair "feel shame"

In Tuesday AHL action, Nick Crawford notched his first goal of the year late in regulation before Jonathan Parker ended things in the shootout to lead Rochester to a 3-2 win over Syracuse.

Jacob Lagace scored his second goal in as many games for the Amerks. Riley Boychuk (his first career AHL point) and T.J. Brennan added assists.

Crawford's power play goal at 15:02 of the third period forced the OT, giving the second year defenseman points in three straight games since replacing the injured Drew Schiestel (knee) in the Amerks lineup.

Matt MacKenzie finished even with a shot on goal in his AHL debut.

The Rundown:
Lagace: 1G, +1
Crawford: 1G
Parker: SHOG, -1
Boychuk: 1A, +1
Brennan: 1A, 2 SOG
Szydlowski: +1
MacKenzie: 1 SOG
Kassian: even
McNabb: -1, 4 SOG
Foligno, -1, 2 SOG
Tropp: -1
Biega: -1

Following the game, the Amerks learned that two of their players have been suspended for actions in Sunday's 7-2 win over Grand Rapids.

Marcus Foligno will sit for two games after being whistled for boarding Garnet Exelby at the end of a foot race for a puck.

Parker was assessed a one-game punishment after cutting a Griffin forward with a high stick.


Elsewhere Tuesday, Nathan Lieuwen made 27 saves but suffered his second regulation defeat of the year as Kootenay came up short against Medicine Hat, 2-1. The ICE return to action Saturday when they host Moose Jaw.

Joel Armia snapped his three-game point drought with an assist as Assat downed HPK, 5-1. The 18-year old wing, who has been skating on the Aces third line for the past few contests, has scored just one goal on 62 shots this season (1.6%). Assat plays at SaiPA on Thursday.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

10/5 Recap: Sabres ink trio to three-year deals

Mark Pysyk skated -1 Wednesday as Edmonton defeated Kootenay in a shootout, 2-1. Pysyk, who has two assists and a -2 rating through his first five games, will next take the ice Friday at Moose Jaw. ICE netminder Nathan Lieuwen made 26 saves in suffering his second defeat in a row. He enters Saturday’s tilt at Red Deer toting a 1.36 goals against average and .949 save percentage.

In the QMJHL, Cedrick Henley racked up three hits and two shots on goal as Val-d’Or lost a shootout to Rouyn-Noranda, 5-4. The 6’5 forward has yet to find the net through six regular season contests.

On Tuesday, Joel Armia posted an assist as Assat lost to Tappara, 3-2. Armia now has a goal and four assists with an even rating through his first nine games.

In case you missed it, the Sabres announced Wednesday that they have signed 2010 third-round draft pick, Matt MacKenzie.

The Buffalo Sabres signed Tri-City Americans defenseman Matt MacKenzie, the team's 2010 third-round draft pick, to a three-year entry-level contract worth $1.8 million.

Drafted 83rd overall, MacKenzie has 18 goals and 80 assists for 98 points, and 180 penalty minutes in 225 games split between the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen and the Americans.

From New Westminster, British Columbia, MacKenzie, who will turn 20 on Oct. 15, was preparing for his second season with Tri-City, but he is scheduled to stay with the Rochester Americans (AHL).

On Thursday, the Sabres followed up the MacKenzie announcement by signing 2010 7th rounder Riley Boychuk and undrafted free agent winger Jonathan Parker to three-year entry level deals.

From the Sabres:

Boychuk (6’4”, 205 lbs., 2/20/91) picked up 30 points (14+16) and 157 penalty minutes with the Portland Winterhawks (WHL) in 2010-11. A native of Abbotsford, BC, Boychuk was the Sabres’ seventh round pick (208th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. In four seasons with the Winterhawks, Boychuk has accumulated 83 points (39+44) and 391 penalty minutes in 194 games.

Parker (5’10”, 195 lbs., 9/25/91) spent the 2010-11 season with the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL), leading the team in both goals (45) and points (86). In three WHL seasons with the Raiders and the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Solana Beach, CA native has totaled 155 points (77+78) and 140 penalty minutes in 205 games.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

9/23 Recap: JGL pots pair; Cat strikes again

In our first Friday of CHL action, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc picked up where he left off a season ago, cashing two goals, adding an assist, and leading his team with five shots on goal as Rimouski came from behind to earn a 6-5 shootout win over Chicoutimi. Trailing  4-2 heading into the third, the Nics battled back to a 5-5 tie with 2:19 left in regulation to force the extra time and tiebreaker.

Leduc, who finished last season on a tear with an impressive 18 points in his final 10 games to wind up as the QMJHL's #2 scorer among defensemen, is certainly out to stake an early offensive claim as Team Canada starts weeding out their 2012 World Junior hopefuls. The multi-goal game is the fourth in his last eight regular season contests (going back to 2010-11), a span that has seen the 6'2 defender convert nine of his last 15 shots on goal (remember five of those came Friday). Rimouski will next hit the ice Sunday when they host Shawinigan.

Also from the Q, Cedrick Henley collected an assist and eight hits as Val-d'Or lost a 5-4 shootout to the defending Memorial Cup champions, Saint John. The 6'5 wing's physical effort comes one night removed from a three-assist outing in his season debut. The Foreurs return to action Saturday in PEI.

Dan Catenacci continued his warm OHL start, scoring the game's first goal on the power play and adding an assist as Owen Sound closed out Guelph, 6-4. The 5'10 center now has four points (2+2) in his first two games as a member of the Attack. Catenacci, who scored just six goals in his final 30 games of 2010-11, will look to maintain his current 136-point pace Saturday when the Attack take on Saginaw.

Alex Lepkowski (+1) assisted on an empty-net goal as Barrie got past Brampton, 3-1. Colts forward Gregg Sutch played even with a cross-checking minor in the win. The Colts are now off until Thursday when they meet up with Owen Sound.

Kevin Sundher finished -1 as the Victoria Royals lost their inaugural WHL contest to Vancouver, 5-2. Earlier in the day, the Royals announced that Sundher would serve as an alternate captain for the 2011-12 season. The Royals and Giants will head back to Victoria Saturday for the Royals home opener -- the first WHL home game in Victoria since the Cougars fled for Prince George back in 1994.

Nathan Lieuwen earned the start in Kootenay's 2011-12 opener, making 27 saves as the ICE fell in the shootout to Red Deer, 3-2. The 6'5 netminder, who played well in helping the Sabres to the Traverse City title, surrendered three goals in the six-round shootout to put the ICE in a 0-1 hole to begin the year. Kootenay will look for the first win Saturday against Calgary.

In SM-liiga action, Joel Armia earned the primary assist on the game winning goal as Assat defeated the Blues, 3-1. The big wing dumped the puck off and pushed to the net as a screen to earn his second point in as many games. Assat returns to action Saturday versus HPK.


Earlier Friday, the Sabres dispatched the first eleven players to their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans.

F: Riley Boychuk, Jacob Lagace, Maxime Legault, Shawn Szydlowski, Mark Voakes, Travis Turnbull
D: Matt MacKenzie, Corey Fienhage, Nick Crawford, Alex Biega
G: Jeff Jakaitis

Unsigned draft picks Matt MacKenzie, 19, and Riley Boychuk, 20, are AHL eligible this season and worth the look in Amerks camp, but the Sabres could still elect to return the pair to their WHL clubs.

Monday, September 5, 2011

9/4 Recap: Boychuk bounced; Catenacci makes debut

Maybe they just don't like preseason?

A Sabres prospect was thrown out of his first exhibition skate of the year for the third day in a row Sunday as Riley Boychuk earned a late ejection in Portland's 5-1 loss to Spokane at Everett's preseason tourney. The 6'5 power forward was credited with 14 PIM on the night, with twelve coming in the final four minutes of play when he earned a roughing minor and then a game misconduct on his very next shift. Boychuk joins Matt MacKenzie (Friday) and Kevin Sundher (Saturday) as class of '10 picks to get the weekend boot.

Colin Jacobs, who will not be participating in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, remained out of action as Seattle dropped a 7-4 decision to Everett. Dinged at the Sabres summer d-camp, Jacobs did not take part in the T-Birds fitness testing earlier in the week. His timetable for return is still unknown.

Also from the Dub, Mark Pysyk did not play as Edmonton lost to Swift Current, 4-2.

In the OHL, Daniel Catenacci did not register a point in his Owen Sound debut as the Attack lost to Barrie, 6-2. Catenacci is said to have had an "up and down" night, mixing his creative shifts with some individualistic ones. Sabres free agent invite Steven Beyers scored for Barrie, while Alex Lepkowski, anchoring the top pair this season with 15-year old phenom Aaron Ekblad, and wing Gregg Sutch, who could find himself on either or the third line the top-line as protection for Mark Scheifele, did not factor for the Colts.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kassian gearing up; Pre-draft comments cause Catfight

Zack Kassian is perhaps the most intriguing Sabres prospect in recent years largely due to his hands. He uses them softly to pass and finish, but also tosses them like hammers when the gloves come off.

Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post recently caught up with Kassian, who has been gearing up for his professional debut after a junior career that saw good headlines (Memorial Cup win, World Junior silver medal) mixed with bad (suspensions). At 6'3, 226 pounds, the imposing forward is going to have to manage a disciplined focus while easing his way into hockey's highest level.

"I need to play with an edge, but I have to make sure I don't cross that edge," he said Tuesday. "With all the skill Buffalo has, I think they need some grit and definitely some people that are hard to play against to give those skilled guys some room. I feel like I can fill that job, and hopefully, I can do it sooner than later."

Kassian scored 77 points a season ago in Windsor, but the skills that created solid junior production are going to take some time to develop as a pro. Zack will be best served concentrating on his 40-second blocks in year one, making sure he keeps his feet moving, finishes his checks, and simply stays engaged while adjusting to playing against "men". Part of that process will be playing a smart game that keeps him...out of trouble and free of regret.

Kassian earned a 20-game suspension in his very first game with the Windsor Spitfires in 2010. He went steaming across the ice in the second period of a game against the Barrie Colts, aimed his shoulder at Matt Kennedy and fired himself into the smaller forward's head, sending both the player and his helmet flying to the ice.

"That suspension, definitely, I wish I could take back," Kassian said.

That collision has drawn more than 175,000 views on YouTube, the most-watched video of Kassian's career. And it might very well have factored into the suspension handed out for his secondmost popular clip, recorded while he was playing with Canada during the world junior championship in Buffalo last December.

As with the hit on Kennedy 12 months earlier, Kassian stalked Czech Republic forward Petr Senkerik through centre ice. Unlike the previous hit, though, Kassian remained on his feet, tucked his elbows into his side and aimed for the chest. The result was still devastating. Senkerik was removed from the ice on a stretcher, and the International Ice Hockey Federation removed Kassian from Canada's lineup for two games. It can be debated that the hit, had it been delivered in the NHL, would not have drawn any supplemental discipline.

"My previous suspensions in junior hockey didn't help my case at all," Kassian said. "I felt like that was a clean hit. It was definitely not fun to sit through world junior games, and especially a big game on New Year's, but stuff like that happens in the game."

Kassian no doubt brings a balancing element that the Sabres crave. His work begins next weekend when the Sabres ice a squad at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.


Elsewhere around the rinks...

The Sault Star reported this week that pre-draft comments by Hounds GM Kyle Dubas were the reason behind the Daniel Catenacci trade request. Remember, Cat was rumored to be telling friends that the request was not his decision.

The decision to seek a trade, according to a reliable source with knowledge of the situation, originated with the player's father, Maurice Catenacci.

And wait until you learn the reason why.

According to the source, Maurice was miffed over comments made by the new Hounds general manager, Kyle Dubas, in a June 21 article in The Star.

In a series of stories that ran before the June 24-25 NHL Entry Draft, each of the five Hounds players who were rated by NHL Central Scouting were profiled.

In an article dealing with defenceman Ryan Sproul's draft prospects, Dubas cited numerous calls he'd received from NHL scouts inquiring about Sproul.

And, based on that, the GM predicted big things at the draft for the six-foot-four, 190-pounder.

Dubas said NHL teams were telling him "Sproul could be a first-round pick."

Dubas added: "I don't think he gets past the 50th pick" and "it's very possible he could be the first Greyhounds player taken."

Which, by the way, is exactly what happened.

While he didn't go in the first round or in the top 50, Sproul was the first Greyhounds player selected.

The Mississauga native was chosen in the second round, 55th overall, by the Detroit Red Wings. Another Soo player, centre Nick Cousins, was next to go, a third-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers and the 68th player chosen.

Catenacci went later in Round 3, 77th overall to the Buffalo Sabres.

According to my source, Maurice Catenacci, apparently angered by the GMs comments and feeling Dubas's words actually hurt Daniel's draft prospects, decided it was time for his kid to play elsewhere.

After having the trade demand met, the speedy center reported to training camp in Owen Sound this week and seems to be fitting in well with some familiar faces on the Attack roster.


Out west, Kootenay ICE netminder Nathan Lieuwen tells The Daily Townsman that he's set to go for his first NHL training camp.

"At the end of the day, it's not in my hands; it's in Buffalo's hands as to what they want to do," said Lieuwen. "I love this organization (Ice) and I'd love to play another year here, that'd be great for me and my career, and if they (Sabres) choose to move me on, then that's another step forward that I can take and play some games there."

Lieuwen, who was a sixth round draft pick this summer after a stellar WHL playoff run, will be one of two goaltenders that the Sabres take to Traverse City. The action should be a good first test after undergoing offseason surgery for a sports hernia that caused him to sit out the Sabres summer development camp.

"My sights are set up there so we'll see what I can do when I get there but what I'm really focusing on right now is getting back into shape, back into proper form so that when I do go there, I do have a shot at making some noise," he said.


Also from the WHL, Riley Boychuk has again captured the "Paul Gaustad Fitness Award", an honor bestowed to the winner of the Portland Winterhawks training camp fitness testing (Goose even showed up for the award presentation). In fact, the award is Boychuk's third in a row.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

5/13 Recap: McNabb's ICE take WHL title, deal next?

Brayden McNabb notched a pair of assists Friday including the primary on the game winning goal as Kootenay won the Ed Chynoweth Cup with a 4-1 win over Portland. The ICE, who earned their third WHL Championship in franchise history, will savor the flavor of victory before joining the Owen Sound Attack and host Mississauga Majors at the 2011 Memorial Cup. The QMJHL Final between Saint John and Gatineau is still being played with the Sea Dogs holding a 3-2 edge.

Moments after his nice slap pass wasn't converted, McNabb's patient power play quarterbacking found Matt Fraser in front of the Winterhawks net for the game winner at 19:16 of the 2nd period. The 6'4 defenseman would later assist on an empty-netter to finish the playoffs with a line of 3-24-27 (t2nd overall in WHL) and a +23 rating (1st). He had more assists than any other CHL defensemen had points in the postseason.

Portland's Riley Boychuk skated -1 while earnng a slashing/roughing double minor after he got his stick tangled between a Kootenay forward's legs on his way to a line change. The edgy 6'5 forward finishes his playoff year with four goals, 12 points and 50 PIM in 21 games.

With the Memorial Cup tournament set to being May 20th, McNabb may still make news before the puck drops. Back in 2009, the Sabres signed Tyler Myers to an entry-level the day after Kelowna's WHL Championship win. Keep an eye in the coming days as it's reasonable to suggest the Sabres use the short window prior to the tourney to get a deal done with Myers' former Athol Murray College of Notre Dame teammate.

Friday, May 13, 2011

5/11 Recap: McNabb stops at dozen as ICE inch towards title

Brayden McNabb saw his 12-game point streak come to an end Wednesday as Kootenay needed overtime to get past Portland, 5-4. The victory gives the ICE a commanding 3-1 lead in the WHL Championship series. McNabb (-1, 8 PIM) amassed 21 points over the dozen game run, collecting multiple points in seven of the contests (all victories).

Riley Boychuk picked up an assist to give him points in two straight games. With McNabb in the penalty box to start the second period, the 6’5 Boychuk found Ryan Johansen with a back door pass just as the ICE captain was skating back into play. Boychuk has four goals and eight assists in the playoffs heading into Portland's first elimination game of the year on Friday.

In Tuesday’s game three, McNabb and Boychuk each posted assists as Kootenay took a two-games-to-one lead with a 3-2 OT win. Much like McNabb on Tuesday, Boychuk was just stepping out of the box as the ICE rushed down the ice to open the game’s scoring.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

5/7 Recap: McNabb keeps mackin'; Boychuk bounced

Brayden McNabb extended his playoff point streak to eleven games Saturday, collecting a pair of assists for the second straight game as Kootenay evened the WHL Championship series at a game apiece with a 7-5 win over Portland. McNabb, who now has 24 points (3+21) this postseason, struck with primary power play helpers three minutes apart in the second period as the ICE took firm control of the game into the 2nd intermission.

Portland forward Riley Boychuk (+1) was ejected in the second period after being assessed an elbowing major for a hit behind the net on defenseman Hayden Rintoul. I know Boychuk and the 'Hawks were trailing 6-1 and surely frustrated at the time, and I know the CHL is attempting to crack down on hits to the head, but I'll let you decide whether or not the crime was worthy of five and a game.

What do you think? Personally, I think we've all seen more egregious contact result in a lesser fine.

After splitting the first two games in Portland, the ICE and Winterhawks will head to Kootenay for back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

5/6 Recap: McNabb continues tear as 'Hawks steal opener

Brayden McNabb (+2) extended his point and assist streaks to a franchise record 10 games Friday as Kootenay opened the WHL finals with a 4-3 overtime loss to Portland. Finishing with a pair of even strength helpers, the 6'4 defenseman has now collected 22 points (3+19) in 15 playoff games. Meanwhile the ICE loss, much in part due to slow start after a long layoff, snaps their amazing 11-game winning the ICE. Sabres power forward prospect Riley Boychuk recorded a roughing minor for the Winterhawks, who are expecting close to 10,000 fans when they host Saturday's game two. Portland sniper Sven Bartschi ('11) continued his ascent up draft boards with a pair of goals, while linemate Ty Rattie ('11) buried the OT winner.

In the OHL Championship, Gregg Sutch was a scratch for the ninth consecutive game as Mississauga lost game three to Owen Sound, 6-5 in overtime. Defenseman Matt Petgrave, undrafted but mentioned in the 2010 preview as a possible late rounder, scored the OT winner and an assist for the Attack. The Majors hold a 2-1 series lead with the teams heading back to Owen Sound for Sunday's game four.

In the USHL Western Conference Final, Christian Isackson finished -1 with a shot on goal as Sioux Falls defeated Dubuque, 3-2. The Stampede, who now trail 2-1 in the best-of-five, will again play with their season on the line as the teams stay in Sioux Falls for Sunday's game four.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Boychuk primed for WHL final

Digging deep to bring you the latest and greatest in the world of the Sabres prospects, we'll turn it over to Riley Boychuk's hometown (Abbotsford, B.C. News) for a nice piece prior to the match-up with former bantam 'mate and Koootenay ICE netminder Nathan Lieuwen.

Emerging from a dark period, Boychuk's Winterhawks are set to offer a serious challenge to their counterparts. Rested Kootenay, led by stalwart rearguard and fellow Sabres prospect Brayden McNabb, will enter the series on a dominating 11-game winning streak after earning sweeps in their previous two rounds. Boychuk himself has pulled through a dark time, battling back after surgery on both hips to re-invent himself as a legit role player at the next level.

Like the team he plays for, Boychuk's game has undergone a transformation. After piling up gaudy stats in his final bantam season (60 goals and 74 assists for 134 points in 63 games), he's become a grinding power forward in the WHL. The 20-year-old is seventh in Winterhawks playoff scoring (10 points in 16 games), while putting his 6'5", 220-pound frame to good use on the forecheck.

"My role is to use my big body to wear and tear on their D-men," said Boychuk, who was a seventh-round draft pick by the Buffalo Sabres last summer. "A hard, energy-type game is what I'll be playing at the next level. So I might as well practice it here."

5/2-3 Recap: Boychuk moves on; Foligno recognized

Gregg Sutch was a healthy scratch Tuesday as Mississauga opened the OHL Championship series with a 5-2 win over Owen Sound. The grinding 6’2 forward hasn’t played for the Majors since April 12th, a span of seven playoff games, after skating limited minutes in the Majors’ first seven postseason tilts. The Majors will travel to Owen Sound for Thursday’s game #2.

On Monday, Riley Boychuk played his usual hard-driving game as Portland defeated Spokane 6-3 to win the WHL Western Conference Championship. The Winterhawks will move on to the Chynoweth Cup Championship series to face Brayden McNabb and the Kootenay ICE, ensuring that the Sabres will have at least two prospects skating at this year’s Memorial Cup tournament. The 6’5 Boychuk has four goals and six assists in Portland’s 16 playoff games, but hasn't lit the lamp in nine games. His longest goalless patch of the regular season lasted just seven games, so it’s safe to say he’s due. The final series kicks off Friday and Saturday in Portland.

Also on Monday, it was announced that Sudbury Wolves captain Marcus Foligno has been named to the 2010-11 OHL 2nd All-Star Team. The powerful 6’3 wing posted career highs this past season in goals (23), assists (36) and points (59) while leading all Sabres prospects in power-play goals (11), short-handed goals (5), and hat tricks (2).

Foligno, who chose to recover from lingering dings and wait for his entry level deal to get done instead of furthering his season, scored two goals and an assist for the Wolves while logging a -10 rating in two playoff rounds.

(As a reminder and a recommendation as the draft nears, you can follow the prospects even closer by following SabresProspects on Twitter.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

4/30 Recap: Boychuk gets letter; Kass debuts

Riley Boychuk wore an "A" Saturday but was unable to register a point as Portland earned a key 3-2 victory over Spokane to take a 3-2 series lead in the WHL Western Conference Final. The 6'5 wing has four goals and 10 points in the playoffs, but just one assist in the series with Chiefs. Talented 2011 eligible Sven Bartschi triggered the attack with a goal and two assists for the the Winterhawks, who will have an opportunity to close the series out Monday at Spokane for the right to battle Brayden McNabb's Kootenay Ice for the Ed Chynoweth Cup and a ticket to Mississauga for the 2011 Memorial Cup.

In the USHL Western Conference Final, Christian Isackson finished -2 as Sioux Falls lost to Dubuque, 2-1. The six-footer hasn't scored in half a dozen games after scoring three times in the Herd's first two playoff outings. Trailing the best-of-five by a 2-0 margin, the Stampede will need a win at home on Friday to keep their season going. John Gaudreau, a 5'6 Northeastern commit who finished 4th in USHL scoring with 76 points (36+36) scored both goals for the Fighting Saints.

Wrapping up the weekend's play, Zack Kassian made his AHL debut, posting two shots on goal as Portland won game three of the AHL Atlantic Division Final over Binghamton, 3-2. The Windsor product was limited in his effectiveness as he eased his way into the intense playoff series, but something tells me he's going to get into a groove and make an impact when the Pirates look to even the series on Monday.