Showing posts with label crawford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crawford. Show all posts

Saturday, January 5, 2013

1/4 Recap: Leggio backstops Amerks to road victory

David Leggio stopped 48 of 50 shots Friday and Nick Crawford scored the game winning goal on the power play as visiting Rochester earned a 5-2 decision at Abbotsford. After Brian Flynn and Zemgus Girgensons scored second period goals to give the Amerks a 2-0 lead, the teams combined for five stikes in the third with Leggio making 16 key saves to preserve the victory.

The Rundown:
Girgensons: G, +2, 2 SOG
Flynn: G, -1
Crawford: GWG, 2 SOG
Brennan: +1
Pysyk: +1
Gauthier-Leduc: 2 SOG
Sundher: even

In the OHL, Dan Catenacci recorded an assist as Owen Sound was defeated by Plymouth 4-3. Catenacci, who saw his four-game goal streak snapped in a 3-1 loss to Kitchener on Wednesday, remains seventh in OHL scoring with 52 points (21+31).

Justin Kea did not score as Saginaw was hammered by London 8-2. The Spirit tangle with Catenacci and the Attack on Saturday.

Colin Jacobs (-2) saw his two-game point streak snapped as Prince George dropped a 4-2 decision to Kelowna. The two clubs will play it back Saturday in PG.

In NCAA play, Brad Navin skated fourth line minutes as Wisconsin extended their unbeaten streak to seven games (4-0-3) with a 5-3 win at Alaska-Anchorage. Winners of four of their last six, the Badgers will play their second game without Jake McCabe when they rematch with the Seawolves on Saturday.

In the USHL, Judd Peterson extended his point streak to three games with an assist as Cedar Rapids held on for a 3-2 win over Tri-City. The St. Cloud State commit has 18 points (6+12) heading into Saturday's game with Waterloo.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

10/27 Recap: Armia unloads; Kea extends streak

Joel Armia scored on the power play Saturday as Assat lost 4-3 to KalPa. The big wing unloaded a one-timer from the left side for his eighth of the year as the Aces third period comeback came up a goal short. Next up for Assat is a Wednesday meeting with the Espoo Blues.

Also from Europe, Linus Ullmark made 20 saves as MODO J20 scored a late goal to capture a 4-3 win over AIK. Ullmark was a driving force with many big saves late in the game en route to picking up his fifth win of the year. MODO J20 will face Vasteras on Sunday.

In the OHL, Dan Catenacci notched the game winning goal as Owen Sound downed Sudbury 3-1. Catenacci, who added an assist on a Cameron Brace empty-netter, has seven goals and 16 points through the first 13 games. The Attack go back at it Sunday versus Windsor.

Justin Kea picked up an assist to extend his point streak to a career-best four games as Saginaw dropped a 3-1 decision at Peterborough. The 6-foot-4 center elevates his season line to 11 points (3+8) through 15 games. He posted a line of 3-11-14 in 65 games a season ago. After playing three games in three nights, the Spirit get to rest their legs until Saturday's meeting with Belleville.

Alex Lepkowski finished with an even rating as Barrie downed Niagara 4-1. Lepkowski continues to play tough defensively while also seeing time at the left point on Barrie's power play. The Colts travel to Sudbury on Friday.

Brady Austin did not factor into the scoring as Belleville pitched a 1-0 shutout of Kingston. The Bulls are off until Friday when they visit London.

In the WHL, Colin Jacobs connected for a pair of assists as Prince George dominated early but needed a shootout to get a 3-2 win over Brandon. Normally an ace breakaway performer, Jacobs missed on a penalty shot attempt in regulation and was stopped as the first Cougars shooter in the tiebreaking frame. The 6-foot-2 center has 18 points (8+10) at the 15 game benchmark. Prince George returns to action Friday at Kamloops.

Logan Nelson registered an assist in Victoria's 5-2 loss at Kamloops. The helper maintains Nelson's point-per-game pace through the first 15 games of the year (3+12). The Royals continue their road trip next Friday at Portland.

In the USHL, Judd Peterson scored a late third-period goal as Cedar Rapids fell short in a 3-2 loss to undefeated Dubuque. The St. Cloud State commit capitalized on a turnover and scored through the five-hole in the game's final minute. The RoughRiders host Tri-City on Friday.

In NCAA play, Jake McCabe and Brad Navin were unable to factor into the scoring as Wisconsin played to a 2-2 tie at Minnesota-Duluth. The Badgers return home next weekend for a WCHA set with Colorado College.

Mark Adams played even as Providence earned the weekend sweep with a 3-0 win over Maine. Jon Gillies (CAL) made 26 saves for his first career NCAA shutout. The Friars continue the Hockey East schedule next weekend at Vermont.

In AHL play, Rick Schofield recorded the first two-goal game of his AHL career to lead the Rochester Americans to a 6-2 win at Adirondack.

Schofield scarfed up a rebound to give Rochester at 1-0 lead 9:28 of the opening period. Frederick Roy assisted on the goal to record his first professional point.

Schofield again lit the lamp in the middle frame, sandwiched between power play marks by Kevin Porter and Evan Rankin as the Amerks took a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.

The Phantoms would get one back in the third before Nick Crawford's empty-netter and Nick Tarnasky's first of the year sealed the deal for Rochester.

With assists on the Rankin goal, Marcus Foligno and Cody Hodgson each hit the 10-point mark in game number eight to gain a share of the AHL scoring lead. T.J. Brennan went without a point to see his four-game point streak snapped.

Rochester heads home for Friday's tilt with Hamilton. The contest will be the first of five Friday night home games for the Amerks.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Foligno fuels Amerks with season on line

With their playoff hopes hinging on a positive outcome, Marcus Foligno (#1 star) bagged two goals and an assist Friday to lead Rochester to an important 5-1 victory over Syracuse. The win bumps the Amerks into 7th place in the AHL's Western Conference standings with just one game left to play. A Saturday win over the Lake Erie Monsters, who are tied with Rochester with 84 points but sit in 6th place with two more victories, should give the Amerks a spot in the playoffs.

Nick Crawford, Evan Rankin, and Colin Stuart supplied the other Amerks goals, while Corey Tropp and Derek Whitmore each chipped in two assists. David Leggio made 30 saves for his 27th win of the year and the game's #2 star.

The Rundown:
Foligno: 2G, A
Crawford: G, A
Tropp: 2A
Brennan: +3
McNabb: 2 SOG
Adam: +1
Varone: even

A Saturday win gives the Amerks a legitimate playoff shot. Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester D&C goes over the scenarios here.

In Friday QMJHL play, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc notched an assist as Rimouski lost game #5 of their playoff quarterfinal 3-2 to Blainville-Boisbriand. The helper was Leduc's 11th point through nine playoff games. Tommy Giroux scored the game winning goal for the Armada with under two minutes left in regulation. Trailing the series by a 3-2 margin, the Nics will head home looking to force a game #7 with a win on Sunday.

In the OHL, Alex Lepkowski (+1) and Gregg Sutch (even) did not factor into the scoring as Barrie missed a chance to close their Eastern Conference semifinal by dropping a 2-1 decision to Ottawa. Cody Ceci ('12) scored a power play goal for the 67's. The Colts, who previously had earned a 3-2 win on Thursday, will take a 3-2 series lead back to Barrie for Sunday's game #6.

On Thursday, Steven Shipley went without a point for the sixth straight game as Niagara bounced Brampton from the OHL playoffs with a 3-1 win. Fresh off a sweep of the Troops, the IceDogs will get the winner of the Barrie/Ottawa battle in the OHL Eastern Conference final beginning next week.

Friday, March 23, 2012

3/22 Recap: Junior playoffs begin; Sundher returns

In Thursday's opening night of the CHL playoffs, Steven Shipley pocketed a power play assist as Niagara rolled Oshawa, 8-2. The IceDogs cruised to a five-goal lead after the opening period en route to taking a 1-0 advantage in their OHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. The puck drops on game #2 Friday night in Ottawa.

Gregg Sutch notched an empty net assist as Barrie opened the 2012 OHL playoffs with a 3-1 win over Mississauga. Sutch's hustle play along the boards got him his first post-season point in nearly two years. Alex Lepkowski finished +1 on the Colts blueline. The clubs will reconvene Friday for game #2.

In the WHL, Kevin Sundher logged a +2 in his return to the lineup as Brandon throttled Calgary 6-2 to take a key road win in their WHL first-round opener. Sundher had missed 13 of the final 14 games for the Wheat Kings with a concussion. The teams will remain in Calgary for Friday's game #2 before heading to Manitoba for games three through five.

Joel Armia was -2 with three shots on goal as Assat lost game #1 of their opening round playoff series to JYP, 4-1. It was a sub-par performance for the 18-year old sniper, who scored two goals in five playoff games a season ago. The teams will travel back to Pori for Saturday's game #2.


On Wednesday, Brayden McNabb, Nick Crawford, and Shaone Morrisonn scored regulation goals while David Leggio made 40 saves as Rochester was defeated by Syracuse 4-3 in a shootout. The Amerks are now 8-2-1 in their last 11 games with a Friday night tilt with Binghamton up next.

McNabb: G, +2
Crawford: G, +2
Adam: 3 SOG
Lagace: -1
Szydlowski: -1
Brennan: -2, 4 SOG
Biega: even

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.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Leggio stands tall as Amerks cool Heat

In Thursday AHL action, Nick Crawford, Phil Varone, and Travis Turnbull each had a goal, and David Leggio made 33 saves for his first shutout of the year as Rochester downed Abbotsford, 3-0.

Crawford wasted little time getting the Amerks on the board with his third of the season just 1:35 into the opening frame.

The teams would play a scoreless second before Phil Varone accepted a Marcus Foligno pass while shorthanded to notch his sixth of the year at 2:56 of the third. Abbotsford brought the heat with 14 shots in the final stanza, with Leggio standing tall en route to earning the game's #1 star.

The Rundown:
Crawford: GWG, +2, 2 SOG
Foligno: 2A, +2, 4 SOG
McNabb: A, +2
Schiestel: even
Biega: 2 SOG
Szydlowski: +1
Lagace: even
Parker: even
Persson: even
Varone: G, +2

The Amerks will look for the rink to be rocking when the two clubs play it back on Friday.

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.

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.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Odds & Ends: Southorn talking; Tropp on the way?

With 2008 draft pick Jordon Southorn recently finishing his fourth QMJHL season, The Guardian is reporting that player agent Don Meehan is talking to the Sabres about a pro deal.

Southorn said his agent, Don Meehan, is talking with the Buffalo Sabres, the team that drafted him in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2008 draft, about a three-year, entry-level contract. At the maximum, it can be worth over $825,000 a year.

Enter the Sabres blueline pipeline, where the system is rich with numbers. With Dennis Persson (one year), T.J. Brennan (two), and Drew Schiestel (two) having term remaining on their first contracts, and Nick Crawford recently added to the fold, it is thought that decisions on Portland defenders Matt Generous and Mike Kostka will play a role in what shakes out with Southorn and recent Harvard grad, Alex Biega.

The 5'11 Biega, who served as the Crimson captain this past season, moves well and plays a smart game, but the Sabres have to decide if he has enough juice to produce on the power play while providing consistent even-strength support. In 131 NCAA games in Cambridge, the Montreal native collected 15 goals and 55 assists with a net +1 rating.

Southorn, on the other hand, is waiting and working a summer job after an up-and-down season that saw a shift in his approach.

Southorn, who turns 20 today, had a solid 2009-10, if not bumpy one.
A pre-season suspension by the Rocket, his second in two seasons, cancelled Buffalo’s plans to bring him to its training camp.
But Southorn focused on his job, finished with a team-high plus-five plus-minus and fourth in hits with 86, and left the offence to itself (four goals, 19 assists, 67 games).
He was down 18 points in scoring from 2008-09, but up 18 points in his plus-minus ratio.
“I think my game changed this year. I was always the offensive guy. My plus-minus was up in the plusses,” he said. “My defensive game got much better. That’s what I was proud of.”
New head coach Eric Lavigne, hired in early October to replace the fired Guy Chouinard, stressed defensive zone coverage and it worked.

Southorn isn't a poor depth option by any stretch, but I was surprised to hear that discussions are taking place because there aren't that many jobs to go around in an organization that doesn't use an ECHL affiliate.

The Sabres have five blueliners under contract (Butler, Rivet, Sekera, Montador, Myers) entering 2010-11, with the expectation that RFAs Marc-Andre Gragnani and Mike Weber will be tendered. There is also the potential for UFA back-up plans like a Dennis Seidenberg and perhaps a Dan Hamhuis to be in place in the event that one of both of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman sign elsewhere.

If you look at the depth chart, I already have Brayden McNabb penciled in to assume Dennis Persson's AHL slot beginning in 2011-12. I'll stop short of calling Persson a lame duck this early, but he will be entering the final year of his deal with the expectation of taking a huge developmental step on the Pirates blueline.


After signing forward Luke Adam to an entry-level contract at the end of his junior season, the Sabres still have decisions to make with some forwards in the coming weeks.

It's becoming more of a certainty that Michigan State RW Corey Tropp will follow in the footsteps of past collegians Chris Butler, Nathan Gerbe, and Tim Kennedy by leaving school after his junior season to sign with the Sabres. The CCHA program has already lost juniors Jeff Petry (EDM) and Andrew Rowe (PHI) to the pro ranks this offseason, making Tropp's departure a no-brainer given the Sabres depth needs. The 6'0 winger led the Spartans this past season with 20 goals and 42 points, and with MSU bench boss Rick Comley not having a consistent track record for developing pro bodies, it may be in both parties best interests to shift the development cycle to the AHL.

With the Sabres short on forwards, it seems that Jacob Lagacé will ultimately get a look as well despite his disappointing finish with Cape Breton. The fifth-round pick in 2008, Lagacé scored five goals in 25 games with the Eagles after having 30 in 35 with Chicoutimi at the time of the deal.


In other forward 'stuff', former first-rounder Marek Zagrapan has had his two-year KHL contract with Severstal terminated after one season. After a quick start in his return to European ice, the former Sagueneen/Amerk/Pirate found it tough to earn consistent time and ultimately became a non-factor down the stretch. It remains to be seen where Zagrapan will land moving forward, but the Sabres will continue to retain his NHL rights while the sting of another first round disappointment subsides.


Speaking of Sabres European prospects, Felix Schutz made noise on the international stage when he scored the overtime winner as Germany shocked Team USA to win the opening game of the 2010 IIHF World Championships. It was a nice touch for Schutz after a tough second half in Portland that saw the tweener limited in ice time while being left off the Pirates clear day roster.

Schutz has two goals through three games for Germany, while fellow Sabres prospect Philip Gogulla has yet to record a point.


When the University of North Dakota began stockpiling defensive recruits like Derek Forbort and Dillon Simpson, we began to think long and hard about the impact it would all have on Sabres 2008 third-rounder, Corey Fienhage. When Fienhage was sat late in the year in favor of forward-turned-defenseman Matt Davidson, those thoughts intensified.

When we reported that Fienhage was placed on the protected list by the WHL's Kamloops Blazers, the writing was seemingly being scribbled on the proverbial wall.

But when Fighting Sioux junior Chay Genoway announced that he would be returning to the team in 2010-11, the message on the wall stated that Fienhage was outsy.

Nothing is official, but whispers around Grand Forks are suggesting that Fienhage is as good as gone (along with Isles prospect David Toews). Fienhage needs to play, and since he didn't get in the lineup last season until Genoway suffered a concussion, it isn't too difficult to connect the dots.

My question is where does Fienhage go? If he opts for the WHL, his window to earn a deal is cut down to one season. Another option has him seeking a scholarship elsewhere, thus sending him to the USHL for a season of Jr. A to retain his NCAA eligibility, and in turn allow the Sabres to keep his rights for a longer term.

Fienhage is rugged and tough, and I would be eager to watch his game translate to the WHL. However, Fienhage is just 20 and needs consistent reps after playing a scant 39 games over two seasons with the Sioux. Couple that with the fact that the Sabres blueline prospect cupboard is already crowded, and I fully expect the Sabres to advise him to somehow stay in school.


While we're at it, might as well make official what we already knew. Mark Adams, the Sabres fifth round pick last summer, will be enrolling at Providence College this fall. The right-hander will join Vermont junior defenseman Drew MacKenzie in the competitive Hockey East.

Adams, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman, was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round (134th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He played three seasons at Malden Catholic High School before spending one season with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. While with Chicago, Adams played in 53 games and recorded four goals and 10 assists for 14 points during the 2009-10 season.

After a minor shoulder injury in the first half, "Roo" got his game clicking as the Steel's year wound down. Adams has good wheels that he'll need to use to limit stick infractions as he steps up a level of competition.


Lastly, if you're not doing so already, try to follow SabresProspects on Twitter. I'll be in Los Angeles for the draft and will be using it to communicate throughout the entire week. This space will be updated as well, of course, but that feed should be more lively.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kassian's Spits on cusp of title defense

Zack Kassian did not register a point Sunday, but despite not being 100% healthy with a still undisclosed upper body injury, still found a way to contribute as Windsor took game three of the OHL Championship over Barrie, 5-2. The reigning Memorial Cup Champion Spitfires, who now hold a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Colts, will look to use the brooms on their Eastern Conference counterparts and earn the right to defend the CHL title when they take the ice for game four Tuesday evening at the WFCU Center Tuesday.

Defenseman Nick Crawford finished even for the Colts after being on the for one goal for and another against. The hallmark of his game continues to be pateint, simple plays with the puck and execution on the power play. Kassian meanwhile, elevated his hitting in the final twenty minutes, using strength to win battles on the boards and his thick slap shot to create rebound opportunites.

Outshooting the Spits by a 44-30 margin, Barrie dictated much of the pace with many prime scoring opportunities. The game’s difference maker however was 18-year old netminder Philip Grubauer, as the German made several difficult stops en route to a 42-save performance that, along with an Adam Henrique hat trick, put Windsor in the series driver’s seat.

The game became quite chippy down the stretch as Kassian and teammate Adam Wallace finished off hits on Colts forward Matt Kennedy, spawning a brief melee with just :49 remaining on the clock. The 6'3 Kassian, nursing what is thought to be a hyperextended elbow, would receive a misconduct after pairing off with Matt Stanisz (below). Just nine seconds later, Colts forward Darren Archibald took a full throttle run at Grubauer, sparking another powder keg that likely sets a physical stage for Tuesday's titan clash.

Winners of their conference final over Kitchener after being down 3-0 to start the series, Windsor knows not to get too comfortable holding a commanding lead. The fact that bad blood spilled on to the ice in the final minute of play Sunday should keep the red and white troops motivated as they eye a trip to Brandon, Manitoba for the 2010 Mastercard Memorial Cup.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Kassian scores as Windsor gets early jump

Zack Kassian scored his seventh goal of the playoff season Thursday as Windsor edged Barrie 5-4 to take a 2-0 series lead in the OHL Championship. Again placed on the Spits top unit with 2010 stud Taylor Hall and Devils prospect Adam Henrique, the big wing got underneath the Colts top pairing of Nick Crawford and Alex Pietrangelo and buried a breakaway backhander to put the Spits ahead 3-1 midway through the second period. Kassian now has 16 points and a +8 rating through 17 postseason contests. Crawford finished a team-low -3 in the loss, the Colts third of the playoffs.

In Tuesday’s game one, Crawford gathered an assist as Barrie let a one-goal lead slip away to lose in overtime, 4-3. The Spits forced the OT with 3:16 to play to set-up Hall’s clutch winner at 2:35 of the extra session. The helper was Crawford’s 11th postseason point for the Colts, while Kassian finished even for the Spits despite looking dogged by bumps and bruises from the seven-gamer with Kitchener.

The Colts and Spits will square off in game three Sunday at 2:00 at the WFCU Center in Windsor.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Crawford named Kaminsky runner-up

Nick Crawford of the Barrie Colts has finished second in voting for the Max Kaminsky Trophy, awarded annually to the OHL's top defenseman. The league's leading defensive scorer, Crawford was edged out by Soo Greyhounds overager Jacob Muzzin by a 73-45 margin for the honor. Past winners of the Kaminsky hardware include Drew Doughty, Andrej Sekera, Brian Campbell, and everyone's favorite Flyer, Chris Pronger.

Crawford, 20, scored 11 goals and 70 points in 68 regular season games split between Saginaw and Barrie. His point total was the most for a Sabres CHL defenseman since Marc-Andre Gragnani's 71 back in 2005-06 with the QMJHL's PEI Rocket. While his patience and poise have made him an excellent power play weapon for the past two seasons, the 6'1 lefty also paced the OHL with an impressive +51 rating en route to helping the Colts to a dominating 57-9-0-2 record and #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Crawford has continued his steady play into the postseason, registering 10 assists and a +6 rating through the first three rounds as the stay-back man on the Colts' #1 pair with Blues prospect Alex Pietrangelo. Barrie is currently awaiting the winner of Sunday's Western Conference game seven between the Kitchener Rangers and Zack Kassian's Windsor Spitfires for the rights to rep the OHL in the 2010 Memorial Cup.

The Sabres blueline cupboard is somewhat crowded, but it is a lock that Crawford is signed to an entry-level deal at the end of his season. Adding strength to his smart, shutdown style will make the 2008 sixth-round pick a prime candidate for quality AHL minutes in 2010-ll. From there, it'll be on Crawford to show he can handle the pro speed while doing all the other things that have made him a successful junior player over the past three seasons.

Not bad for a guy who wasn't even ranked by NHL's Central Scouting Bureau heading into the 2008 draft.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

4/23 Recap: Kassian's Spits order game seven

Zack Kassian finished +1 with a fighting major Friday as Windsor claimed a 6-4 victory over Kitchener to even the OHL Western Conference Championship at three games apiece. Kassian saw his eight-game point streak end in the win, but will gladly look to begin another when the series is settled in Sunday's game seven showdown.

Kassian, 19, failed to produce a point for just the third time this post-season while skating on the Spitfires top line with 2010 stud Taylor Hall and New Jersey prospect Adam Henrique for the third straight game. Falling behind 2-0 early, the trio mixed excellent passing plays with pressure on successive shifts to help Windsor tie the game 2-2 midway through the first period, and ultimately gain control of game six.

The Spits would keep pouring it on en route to taking a 6-2 lead before Rangers captain Dan Kelly looked to spark his team by dropping the mitts with the 6'3, 215 pound Kassian at 12:39 of the second period. The in-tight tussle featured few connections, a good thing considering Kassian is still dinged with an upper body injury (suspected to be an elbow) suffered in Thursday's win. The scrap was the banger's second of the playoffs.

The Rangers and Spitfires will now head back down the 401 for the deciding game seven Sunday at 2:00. The winner will play the resting Barrie Colts, featuring Max Kaminsky Trophy runner-up Nick Crawford, for the right to represent the OHL at the 2010 Memorial Cup.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kassian continues streak; Crawford's Colts advance

Zack Kassian finished +2 with an assist Thursday as Windsor shut out Kitchener 3-0 to win game five of the OHL's Western Conference Championship. The Spitfires, who trail the series 3-2, have now won two straight must-win games after disappointments in the first three.

Still babyfaced after his post-game three shave, Kassian received top line minutes alongside Adam Henrqiue and Taylor Hall for the second consecutive game as Spits coach Bob Boughner attempted to rejuvenate his troops. Midway through a quiet first period, Kassian was whistled for embellishing a cross-check with a dive. Near the close of the opening twenty, Rangers captain Dan Kelly put a solid check on Kassian that left the big wing favoring his shoulder on his way off the ice.

Returning to the bench for period two, Kassian earned an assist on the second Spits tally as he went to the net while Hall went wide to create a Henrique goal. Later, the 6'3 forward nullified a Spits power play was called for goaltender interference while claiming a spot in front of the Rangers net.

Kassian, who now has six goals and 15 points in 13 postseason contests, will ride an eight-game point streak into Friday night's game six.

On Wednesday, Nick Crawford earned an assist as Barrie won the Eastern Conference Championship with a 4-2 victory of Mississauga. Holding a 3-2 lead into the third, Crawford helped create Luke Pither's marker 4:26 into the third to put the Colts into the OHL Championship series against the winner of Windsor/Kitchener. Crawford, the OHL's leading defensive point-getter in the regular season, now has 10 assists through 13 playoff games.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kassian dumps beard, scores pair as Windsor stays alive

Zack Kassian scored a pair of power play goals Tuesday to help Windsor stave off elimination with a 7-5 win over Kitchener. The win gets the Spits on the board in the Western Conference Championship, as the defending Memorial Cup champs now trail the Rangers 3-1 in the best-of-seven.

Kassian, who shaved his beard Sunday after Windsor's third straight loss, was promoted to the Spits top line with Adam Henrique (two goals) and Taylor Hall (game winning goal) for game four. After scoring off a defender's leg in the first, Kassian later tipped in a Ryan Ellis shot to give the Spits a 4-1 lead at the end of two periods before a wild third that featured seven goals between the two clubs. Through 12 playoff games, the physical presence has six goals and eight assists. The Spits will look to carry their 'stay alive' momentum into Thursday's game five.

On Monday, Nick Crawford posted an assist as Barrie gained control of the Eastern Conference Championship series with a 3-1 win over Mississauga. The power play helper gives the steady rearguard nine points, all assists, and a +6 rating through 12 playoff contests. The Colts will look to close out the Majors when game five goes on Wednesday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

4/17 Recap: Kassian in mix as Spits dig hole

In game two of the OHL Western Conference Final, Zack Kassian earned an assist as slumping Windsor suffered their second straight loss to Kitchener, 5-2. Jeff Skinner ('10) scored a pair of goals and added an assist for the Rangers, who will take a 2-0 series lead back to Windsor for Sunday's game three.

Kassian, who now has a goal and four assists over his current five-game point streak, played a factor in three of the game's first four goals. The big forward found himself in the penalty box after an offensive zone cross-check as the Rangers opened scoring with a power play goal at 12:22 of the first period. On his first shift of the second period, Kassian couldn't contain his check to allow the Rangers a 2-0 lead. Later in the period, the bullish wing helped produce a goal after being moved to a line with Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique by winning a corner battle and making a nice move on the way towards the net. Henrique finished off the play for his seventh goal of the playoffs to make it 3-1 Rangers.

With Kitchener goalie Brandon Maxwell proving to be a difference maker, the key to the Spits will be Kassian getting in front of the crease and impeding the keeper's sight lines. Also worth noting is the sometimes individualistic play of the talented Windsor forwards. Their defense is showing holes, so a complete team concept in all three zones is what this hockey watcher is prescribing for the defending Memorial Cup champs to make it a series.

In Barrie, Nick Crawford was even as the Colts downed Mississauga 3-1 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Championship. Barrie carried the pace throughout, out-shooting the Majors 58-35 en route to the home-ice victory. The Colts barn was rocking, and the players definitely fed off the enthusiasm after dropping their first game of the playoffs the night before. The series will now shift back to Mississauga for game four on Monday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

4/14-16 Recap: Kassian, Crawford facing early tests

The conference final round of the OHL playoffs got underway this week, and it didn't take long for Zack Kassian's Windsor Spitfires and Nick Crawford's Barrie Colts to receive wake-up calls after each swept their way to 8-0 records after two rounds.

On Thursday, Kassian (-1) scored his third goal of the playoff year as the Spits lost game one of the Western Conference final to Kitchener, 7-6 in overtime. The 6'3 wing, who continued to see the bulk of his work on a third line with Eric Wellwood and Greg Nemisz, finished off a Taylor Hall two-on-one feed at 17:33 of the second period to knot the game at five. Kassian now has 10 points in nine post-season games.

Early on with the Spits down 1-0, the aggressive Kassian staked his spot in front of the Rangers net when he bumped into Brandon Maxwell to earn a goaltender interference call. The Kassian line will be counted on to grind the Rangers down with their cycling, puck control style as the series wears on, and it's safe to say that the hard-to-move Sabres prospect will stay familiar with Maxwell's space.

Windsor will look to avenge their first defeat of the post-season when game two fires up Saturday at 7:00 in Kitchener.

In Friday Eastern Conference final action, Crawford was -1 as Barrie was dumped by Mississauga 5-2 to even the series at one game apiece. On Wednesday, the shutdown-minded Crawford finished even as the Colts opened the series with a 3-0 shutout on home ice.

Barrie's explosive offense is being put to the test by the defensive minded Majors, and it should be expected that Crawford's even-strength patience and left-point execution on the power play will be key factors as the Colts look to rebound in Saturday's game three. Paired with St. Louis prospect Alex Pietrangelo, the 6'2 lefty has eight assists and +6 rating through 10 playoff contests.

The two series are of particular interest to fans of the Sabres as well as hockey pundits abroad. A Colts/Spitfires match-up for the J. Ross Robertson Cup will guarantee a Sabres prospect in the Memorial Cup tournament for the 10th straight season, while setting up the first Barrie/Windsor re-match since Kassian's controversial hit on Matt Kennedy that saw the banger receive a 20-game suspension.

Friday, April 9, 2010

4/8 Recap: Knapp knocked out; OHL duo moves on

Connor Knapp earned the start for Miami Thursday, stopping six of nine shots in limited duty as the RedHawks saw their season close with a 7-1 loss to Boston College at the NCAA Frozen Four in Detroit. Knapp, who was seeing his first "front end" action of the season after serving the entire year as "Mr. Saturday Night", surrendered three goals on nine shots before getting the hook with 16:52 to play in the second period. After scoring on the power play near the end of the first period, the speedy Eagles came out of the gates in the second with another power play goal at 2:06 before forcing Knapp out with an even strength tally a minute later. The 6'5 sophomore finishes the season 10-4-4 with a 1.97 goals against average and .921 save percentage.

On Wednesday, Zack Kassian assisted on a Greg Nemisz goal with :38 to play then helped set up the eventual game winner as Windsor forced OT and eeked out a 3-2 victory over Plymouth to sweep their OHL Western Conference semifinal with four straight wins. Kassian, still showing signs of freshness after sitting for 20 regular season games, was a definite factor in the Spits dominance with his physical presence and ability to get pucks to the net. The 6'3 banger piled up four assists in the series to up his line to 2+6=8 in eight postseason games while displaying the hard nosed traits that made him a first round draft pick . The Spits will look to maintain their intensity when they battle the winner of the Kitchener/London series in the conference finals beginning next week.

Also on Wednesday, Nick Crawford continued his steady play with an assist and a +2 rating as Barrie closed out their Eastern Conference semifinal with a 5-2 win over Brampton. The left-side rearguard has racked up eight assists in as many post-season games leading up to the Colts match-up with either Ottawa or Mississauga-St. Mikes in the conference final.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

4/5 Recap: Things lining up for possible showdown in the "O"

Zack Kassian earned an assist Monday as Windsor took a stranglehold on their OHL Eastern Conference semifinal with a 5-0 shutout of Plymouth. The bullish forward remained at his right wing spot on a steady line with Gteg Nemisz and Eric Wellwood, pounding a few slapshots on net while pulling his two-way weight.

In the OHL's Western Conference semis, Nick Crawford finished -1 as Barrie defeated Brampton. The Colts victory gives them a commanding three-ganes-to-none lead in their best-of-seven.

In Sunday's game two, Crawford was even as the Colts edged the Troops, 3-2, in overtime. Manning the left side of Barrie's the top pair with blues prospect Alex Pietrangelo, Crawford was solid defensively while exhibiting good poise with the puck in all three zones. At one point in the middle period, he showed excellent vision and awareness by making a stretch pass from his own corner to his partner breaking towards the Battalion blueline.

Kassian's Spits and Crawford's Colts will look to complete second round sweeps on Wednesday. Both clubs have dominated their sides of the postseason bracket, setting the stage for a possible heavyweight showdown in a couple of weeks if each can lock up their conference with another series win.

Friday, April 2, 2010

4/1 Recap: Kassian effective as Spits take opener

In Thursday OHL action, Zack Kassian (+2) did not register a point but maintained a physical presence as Windsor opened their second round series with a 5-1 tuning of Plymouth. Starting on a line with Calgary first-rounder Greg Nemisz and Flyers prospect Eric Wellwood while also seeing time on the Spits top power play unit, the 6'3 Kassian rode the momentum of an excellent first round performance into game one, providing a turnover-producing pop on Austin Levi ('10) to create the game's first goal at 11:07 of the first period.

Kassian's intimidation factor makes all of his teammates more effective, not just the four others he's skating with. He simply doesn't need to wear a letter. After taking an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that led to the Whalers only goal late in the middle frame, the accountable aggressor returned on the very next shift to take on 6'5, 217-pound Jamie Devane in the first of four bouts on the evening.

Taylor Hall paced the Spits with a pair of goals while fellow 2010 stud Tyler Seguin finished -3 for Plymouth. The puck drops on game two on Saturday.

In Barrie, Nick Crawford played even as the Colts defeated Brampton, 5-3. The 6'1 rearguard, who was on the ice for one goal for and a shorthanded goal against, entered the game with seven points through four playoff contests. With the hard fought victory, Barrie takes a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal.