Showing posts with label kassian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kassian. Show all posts

Saturday, February 11, 2012

2/10 Recap: Kassian collects, Jacobs ramping up

In Friday AHL action, Zack Kassian scored a pair of goals while Corey Tropp (three assists) and Brayden McNabb (two assists) posted multi-point nights in Rochester's 9-4 blowout win over Texas. Kassian, whose effort included a short-handed tally, has now scored five goals on 12 shots in his last three games with Rochester.

Travis Turnbull (+5) earned the game's first star with two goals and an assist. Jonathan Parker, Paul Szczechura, Derek Whitmore, Mark Voakes, and Maxime Legault added singles for the Amerks.

All but four Amerks skaters (Lagace, Schiestel, Persson, Ryan) earned a point in the win. Drew MacIntyre made 23 stops to move to 8-11-0-2 on the year.

The Rundown:
Kassian: 2G, 6 SOG, +2
Parker: G, 3 SOG
Tropp: 3A, +4
McNabb: 2A, +2
Fienhage: 2A, +1
Crawford: A, +1
Foligno: A
Lagace: 2 SOG
Schiestel: +1
Persson: +2

The Amerks (22-18-6-3, 2nd in North Division) host San Antonio on Saturday.


Colin Jacobs recorded a goal and an assist as Seattle lost to Spokane, 5-4. While on a 5x3 in the middle period, the 6'1 center took a long pass and buried the breakaway backhander for his third goal in his last four games. The T-Birds will welcome another division rival to town on Saturday when they host Portland.

Kevin Sundher scored his 26th of the year and second in as many games as Brandon doubled Swift Current, 6-3. The win snaps the Wheat Kings six-game losing streak at home. Brandon will travel to Medicine Hat on Sunday.

Connor Knapp was forced to make just 11 saves as #12 Miami downed Alabama-Huntsville 3-1 in a non-conference affair. The 6'6 senior, who has now started eight of Miami's last 11 games, moves to 9-6 on the year. The two clubs will close the set Saturday in Oxford.

Justin Jokinen picked up an assist as Minnesota State defeated Alaska-Anchorage, 3-2. The senior wing now has a goal and three assists in three games this season versus the Seawolves. The teams will play it back on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc finished +1 as Rimouski edged Quebec, 2-1. Leduc continues to lead all QMJHL defenders in scoring with 60 points (24+36), nine more than his next closest competitor. The Oceanic will battle Blainville-Boisbriand on Saturday.

Cedrick Henley registered three hits as Val-d'Or was dealt a 3-1 defeat by Moncton. The 6'5 captain will look to snap an eight-game point drought on Saturday when the Foreurs host Cape Breton.

Alex Lepkowski skated even while Gregg Sutch got into his third fight of the year (and second in a week) as Barrie got past Sudbury, 4-3. Winners of five straight, the Colts will host the Niagara IceDogs (winners of four straight) on Saturday.

Drew MacKenzie was held to one shot on goal as Vermont was blown out by #5 Boston College, 6-1. The senior rearguard has gathered points in 18 of his last 24 games. The Catamounts are off until Friday when they visit New Hampshire.

Mark Adams logged a shot on goal as Providence earned a 4-3 win over #12 Maine. The friars move on to face Massachusetts on Saturday.

Christian Isackson saw action as the fourth line center, finishing -2 with a shot on goal as #2 Minnesota suffered a 5-3 loss at #14 Denver. The six-footer will look to dress in both ends of a WCHA set for the first time when the clubs rematch Saturday at Magness.

Mark Pysyk logged a season-low -3 rating as Edmonton dropped a 5-4 overtime decision at Prince George. The Oil Kings, ranked sixth in the latest CHL rankings, will look for the road split when the clubs play the rematch on Saturday.

Brad Eidsness served as backup as #16 North Dakota downed #3 Minnesota-Duluth, 3-1. The Sioux will likely keep the same lineup when they go for the sweep on Saturday.

Nathan Lieuwen was given the night off as Kootenay was shut out 2-0 by Red Deer. The ICE host Saskatoon on Saturday.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kassian adds pair in Amerks loss

Zack Kassian added two goals to his stat line Wednesday but the Amerks were halted by Toronto, 4-3. Maxime Legault (2009, 7th round) added the other Rochester mark, while Brayden McNabb added a pair of assists.

Kassian finished his own rebound to get the Amerks on the board at 1:43 of the second period, halving the Marlies lead to 2-1.

After the Marlies regained a two-goal lead in the third, Corey Tropp started a passing play that resulted in Legault's fourth of the year.

Trailing 4-2 in the game's final minute, Kassian tipped in his second of the game and 13th of the year with just :04 to go to complete the scoring.

The Amerks (21-18-6-3) remain in second place in the North Division.

Mike Ryan earned an assist in his first game back since October 14th.

The Rundown:
Kassian: 2G, 4 SOG, +1
McNabb: 2A, 3 SOG, +3
Tropp: A, 1 SOG
Schiestel: +2
Fienhage: +1
Lagace: even
Crawford: even
Persson: -2

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1/28 Recap: Lepkowski lights lamp; Cat facing discipline

Alex Lepkowski scored the first game winning goal of his OHL career Saturday to lead Barrie to a 2-1 win over Ottawa. The 6'4 defender, who didn't score his first goal until his 100th game, now has six in his last 26. Gregg Sutch did not score but earned the game's #3 star for his all-around work.

Dan Catenacci recorded an assist before being ejected in the second period for a slew foot match penalty as Owen Sound lost to Guelph, 3-2. The infraction carries a one-game suspension, forcing Catenacci out of Sunday's game against Ottawa. The match penalty is the second of Catenacci's career after getting called for a slew foot on Erie's Brett Thompson a year ago.

Brad Eidsness made 20 saves in his fifth start of the year (and first of the year on a Saturday) to help North Dakota to a 4-2 win over Wisconsin. The victory was Eidsness' fourth of the year and 54th of his WCHA career. Brad Navin contributed one shot on goal in bottom line minutes for the Badgers.

Joel Armia saw his eight-game point streak come to an end as Assat dropped a 6-3 decision to the Pelicans. The 6'3 wing picked up four shots on goal and a roughing minor over 13:53 of work.

Kevin Sundher did not factor into the scoring as Brandon got past Red Deer, 3-2. The six-foot center has gone without a point 15 times this season, with six of those coming during his first 11 games in a Brandon uniform.

Nathan Lieuwen stopped 41 of 46 shots but Kootenay fell in overtime to Spokane, 5-4. The ICE netminder was especially busy in middle period when he faced 18 shots. After starting January with four wins in six outings, Lieuwen is winless in his last four starts.

Mark Pysyk finished -2 as Edmonton was defeated by Vancouver, 3-2.

Colin Jacobs finished -1 with a diving minor as Seattle got pounded by Portland, 8-3.

Drew MacKenzie notched an assist as Vermont was doubled by Northeastern, 4-2. The two-way defender has six goals and 17 points in 23 games.

Justin Jokinen registered one shot on goal as Minnesota State handled Bemidji State, 5-2.

Christian Isackson (3 SOG) was inserted into the lineup as a fourth-line center as Minnesota edged St. Cloud State, 3-2.

Connor Knapp was given the night off as Miami pitched a 6-0 shutout of Northern Michigan.


In the AHL, Zack Kassian (11th) and Derek Whitmore (17th) scored first period goals, and David Leggio provided the rest with 37 saves as Rochester held on to defeat Toronto, 2-1. The Amerks head into the All-Star break withb a 19-17-5-3 mark.

The Rundown:
Kassian: G, 2 SOG
Foligno: A, 3 SOG
Persson: A, 1 SOG
Parker: 2 SOG
Crawford: 2 SOG
Biega: 1 SOG
Schiestel: 1 SOG
Lagace: even
Fienhage: even
Szydlowski: even

Sunday, January 8, 2012

1/7 Recap: Sundher extends streak, gets tossed

In Saturday action, Kevin Sundher extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist, but Victoria suffered their ninth straight defeat with a 4-3 shootout loss to Kelowna. Both streaks are newsworthy, but it's how Sundher ended the game that had people talking afterwards.

Amidst a high level of frustration, Sundher missed the shootout after getting tossed for attempting to headbutt a taunting Shane McColgan at the end of OT. The two previously came together for offsetting roughing minors as buzzer sounded to end regulation. With his name swirling as perhaps the hottest WHL trade commodity (unless Team Canada scorer Mark Stone is somehow put on the block) and the Royals not taking the ice again until Friday, the game would certainly be a most interesting way for Sundher, the franchise's all-time leading point-getter, to close out his time in Victoria.

Elsewhere, Steven Shipley scored his 11th goal of the year as Niagara doubled Sarnia, 4-2. The 6'3 Shipley has six goals and 14 points in his last 10 games. The Dogs are off until Thursday when they host Barrie.

Mark Pysyk returned from the World Junior Championship and scored his third goal of the year as Edmonton downed Swift Current, 5-3. The 6'2 defender came down the left side late in the second period and stuffed the puck past the Broncos goaltender for his 19th point of the year. The Oil Kings will be in action Sunday when they host Red Deer.

In NCAA play, Drew MacKenzie scored his sixth goal of the year as Vermont dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Massachusetts at Frozen Fenway. The power play marker extends MacKenzie's career-best point streak to six games. The Catamounts return home next weekend to face Lowell on Friday and Providence on Sunday.

Justin Jokinen avenged a costly penalty the night before by scoring the game winning goal as Minnesota State earned a 3-1 win over Saint Lawrence and a split of their non-league set. The goal, Jokinen's third of the year, was his first game winner since 10/10/08 against Bemidji State.

Connor Knapp made 20 saves for the ninth shutout of his career as Miami swept Michigan State with a 4-0 win. The senior netminder, whose record improved to 5-4, appeared in back-to-back contests for the first time since last January (1/22, 1/28). The RedHawks travel to Lake Superior State next weekend.

Dan Catenacci collected three assists as Owen Sound got past Brampton with a 4-3 overtime win. The speedy center earned helpers on consecutive shifts in the early second as the Attack snatched a 2-1 lead before earning a secondary on the OT winner. The Attack are off until Friday's tilt with Erie.

Nathan Lieuwen stopped 19 of 22 shots as Kootenay was beaten by Moose Jaw, 3-1. The 6'5 keeper has won just three of his last 10 starts (since December 1st) to dip to 17-10-1-2 on the year. The ICE will end the weekend with a Sunday meeting with Medicine Hat.

Colin Jacobs was -1 as Seattle lost to Spokane, 4-2. After missing 26 games while recovering from shoulder surgery, the 6'1 center has gathered fur points (3+1) in his first dozen games of the 2011-12 season. The T-Birds are off until Friday when they visit Kamloops.

Alex Lepkowski finished -1 as Barrie lost to London, 3-2. Colts forward Gregg Sutch missed his fourth straight game with a head injury despite rumors that he had passed his concussion test earlier in the week. The Colts return to action Sunday at Kingston.

In the QMJHL, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc logged a +1 as Rimouski won a 3-2 shootout decision over Baie-Comeau. The QMJHL's leading defensive point-getter, Leduc has gone two games without getting on the scoresheet for the fourth time this season. The Nics are off until Friday when they'll tangle with Rouyn-Noranda.

Brad Navin was even as Wisconsin edged RIT, 2-1. The 6'2 freshman has two goals and two assists through his first 19 collegiate games. The Badgers travel to Mankato next weekend for a WCHA set with Minnesota State.

Christian Isackson did not play as Minnesota lost to Notre Dame, 4-3. The Gophers will play a key WCHA set with North Dakota.

Brad Eidsness served as back-up as North Dakota defeated Clarkson 3-1 at MTS Center in Winnipeg. The senior has started just three of North Dakota's 21 games this season.


In the AHL, Phil Varone scored a pair of goals including the game-winner as Rochester defeated Binghamton, 3-2. Varone extends his career-best point streak to six games. He has a ways to go before eclipsing the 16-gamer he posted a year ago while with Erie of the OHL.

Zack Kassian notched an assist in his first AHL game since November 19th, while Shawn Szydlowski added a career-high four shots on goal.

The Amerks close the weekend with a battle against longtime rival Hershey on Sunday.

The Rundown:
Varone: 2G
Kassian: 1A, +1
Foligno: +1
Tropp: 2 SOG
Lagace: 2 SOG
Schiestel: even
Brennan: 3 SOG
Biega: -1
Szydlowski: -2, 4 SOG
Persson: 2 SOG

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Leduc lopped; Pysyk's prospects improve

Mark Pysyk and Jerome Gauthier-Leduc arrived in Calgary Saturday along with 39 others for the start of Hockey Canada's 2012 World Junior Selection Camp and the final leg in achieving a dream of every kid who ever laces them up in the Great White North.

After two scrimmages and a round of cuts, one Sabres prospect remains.

A favorite to crack Canada's top-six entering camp, Edmonton Oil Kings captain Mark Pysyk has continued his steady play through the Red/White tilts, maintaining good gaps and showing his smarts in all three zones while paired with Joe Morrow (game #1) and Nathan Beaulieu (game #2).

Pysyk generally limits his mistakes, making him the perfect type of rearguard for tournament play, but he did commit a turnover early that resulted in a power play opportunity for Team Red early in Sunday's contest. He did not earn a point in either game, but was on the ice for one goal against (right D #5 below - excuse poor quality).

As a whole it appears that the benching he received last week against Calgary (for play demmed "selfish" by EDM bench boss Derek Laxdal) has paid some dividends. Pysyk's feet and aptitude have stood out as they do on most nights. He simply looks bigger, stronger, and more ready than he was a season ago, likely solidifying his spot on the team as a solid minute-eater.

Unlike Pysyk who has a more complete two-way package, fellow White blueliner Leduc was brought to camp for one reason - offense. Leduc (#3), a mobile righty who leads all Canadian major-junior defensemen with 47 points, used his cannon shot to get an assist on the game winning goal in White's 3-2 opening night win on Sunday.

Leduc would again show his shot in White's 2-0 loss in game #2, firing a hard slapper off the pipe near the end of the game that resulted in him defending a 2x1 going back the other way (taking the pass away, leaving the goalie to take the shooter).

However when the calls were made Tuesday morning as Canada cut their roster down, Leduc was among the first to get sent home.

Given the depth of competition, the move was not surprising. Canada has some well-rounded options who can carry the full-time luggage, and it was going to be a hard sell putting Leduc in the top six.

Scanning the pool of candidates in the weeks leading up to camp, Leduc seemed more like an ideal #7 than a top-six guy; an ace offensive catalyst who can breathe life into a power play but likely not sturdy enough defensively for a leading role. Through two games he did little to separate himself from the pack.
Leduc's offensive package comes with some uneven play in his own zone that can make for some adventurous shifts. He can get in trouble against physical forwards, and can sometimes get ambitious with the puck as evidenced by an egregious turnover in game #2 that resulted in his defensive partner going to the box for tripping.

A season ago, the Sabres had four players at Canada's camp - Zack Kassian, Marcus Foligno, Pysyk, and Brayden McNabb. Kassian and Foligno made the squad while Pysyk made it to final cuts. McNabb was among the first to get the axe, and proceeded to go on a tear with points in seven straight games as Kootenay started its run to the Memorial Cup.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kassian goes: Episode #1

It took three games, but stud bruiser Zack Kassian made his debut as an NHL pugilist Tuesday, renewing acquaintances with current New York Islander and former OHL toughguy, Matt Martin. The two first tangled in an uneventful junior scrap back in January of 2009. This one went a little differently.

No further preamble required...

Welcome to Buffalo, Zack.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kassian gets the call

With Brad Boyes and Patrick Kaleta sidelined and Tyler Ennis not quite ready to rejoin the lineup, the Buffalo Sabres announced Thursday that rookie forward Zack Kassian has been recalled from the AHL's Rochester Americans. The OHL product will make his NHL debut Friday when the Sabres take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

From the Sabres:

Kassian (6’3”, 228 lbs., 1/24/91), who is playing in his rookie AHL season, has played 18 games for the Americans this season and leads the team with 14 points (7+7).

The Windsor, Ontario native was selected by Buffalo in the first round (13th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He played in three games during the 2010-11 season for the Portland Pirates as they advanced to the Division Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Here is my profile on Kassian from last spring's rankings article:

1) Zack Kassian, RW, Windsor Spitfires (OHL), 2009 1st round (13th overall)

At 6'3, 215-pounds and strong as an ox, Kassian is considered the prime-time power forward in the Sabres developmental ranks. After winning a Memorial Cup and getting his first taste of NHL preseason play, the Windsor native returned to his hometown Spitfires in 2010-11, cruising to an impressive 20 points in 11 games before signing his entry-level deal with the Sabres on November 1st. Kassian, who also scored three points in five games as Canada won silver at the World Junior Championship, finished the season with 26 goals and 77 points in 56 outings (2nd on team).

Kassian has the soft hands and edge to someday drive second-line minutes, but work needs to be done towards achieving night-to-night consistency. The bullish forward gets around well with a long skating stride, yet the key to unlocking the good in his game (his vastly underrated passing ability, heavy one-timer, and ability to hit like a truck) lays in keeping his feet moving in all zones. He did it often along the way to averaging 1.92 points-per-game prior to playing for Canada. He did it less when averaging just .94 points-per-game upon his return. Kass continued his hit-or-miss ways in the playoffs, collecting six goals and 10 assists in 16 games before a suspension caused a premature end to his junior career.

Of course the aggressive component to Kassian's mix makes the conversation interesting. Often compared to his idol Todd Bertuzzi in terms of frame, skill set, and OHL production, the 20-year old has shown a propensity for high hits that will need to be smoothed out. It's OK to have a short fuse as long as you can control when it ignites. Bob Probert was a mix of skills and aggression who sometimes spun out of control, and he too was a 6'3, 220+ pound Windsor-born forward with similar OHL statistics.

It's obvious that once Kassian gains the proper focus, he'll immediately add toughness and touch the Sabres' core forwards, taking confidence and space away from the opponent while elevating the play of his line mates. In a nutshell, it's that blend that places him at the #1 spot. After a brief playoff extension in Portland to gather his summer takeaways, expect Kassian to make waves in training camp and possibly cause interesting roster conversations at the start of the year, but ultimately spend the majority of his first professional season in the AHL. Anything more would be an over achievement.

There's no question that Lindy Ruff will be shuffling lines left and right come Friday, but where do you start the talented yet inexperienced Kassian? Recent call-up Corey Tropp has impressed with his effort as a fourth/third-line ladder guy, so perhaps Kassian begins similarly with fourth-line minutes. If he hustles, sticks to his checks, and more importantly gets the play to progress when he's on the ice, he'll likely rise through the shuffle. For now though, your guess is as good as mine.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kassian scores again as Amerks win third straight

Zack Kassian scored a goal for the third straight game to help Rochester to a 2-1 Saturday night win over Grand Rapids. The 6'3 rookie, who pounced on a rebound for his fourth goal in his last five contests, continues to lead the Amerks with seven goals and 13 points through the club's first 15 games.

Veteran forward Colin Stuart potted the game winning goal, his fifth mark of the year, at 18:36 of the middle frame.

With Papa Kass providing a solid prospect beat, the bigger story this weekend may have been the play of veteran goaltender Drew MacIntyre. The 28-year old stopper made 78 saves in earning Friday and Saturday wins, and could emerge as the #1 guy if his sharp play continues Wednesday against Syracuse.

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

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kassian cashes winner as Amerks move into first

Zack Kassian scored the game winning goal Friday while Brayden McNabb added an insurance marker to lead Rochester to a 3-1 victory of defending Calder Cup champion Binghamton. The win moves the Amerks ahead of Toronto into first place in the North Division of the AHL's Western Conference.

Kassian's blast from the left dot midway through the second period was his team-leading sixth goal of the year. He'd also pick up an assist to earn the game's #1 star.

McNabb scored his second goal of the year, and second in as many games, on a 5x3 power play at 2:49 of the third period. The 6'5 defender now has three points in his last two games.

Matt MacKenzie, Riley Boychuk, Jonathan Parker, and Dennis Persson all did not dress for the Amerks.

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

The Amerks, who have been clicking since the debut Paul Szczechura (4GP 1+5), will have Corey Tropp back from his four-game recall when they host Grand Rapids on Saturday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Amerks rally to down Crunch

Brayden McNabb banged the overtime game winner in off the crossbar as Rochester avenged Saturday night's loss with a 6-5 win over Syracuse. The OT tally was the first goal of McNabb's pro career. The 6'5 defender, who earlier was credited with a short-handed assist, was not named to the game's three stars.

Zack Kassian scored his fifth goal of the year on a breakaway and added an assist for the winners, while Alex Biega and Jacob Lagace also chipped in with helpers.

The Rundown:
McNabb: GWG, A, +1
Kassian: G, A
Lagace: A
Biega: A, +1
Szydlowski: A
Crawford: -1
Brennan: +2
Foligno: +1
Schiestel: 1 SOG
Boychuk: DNP
Parker: DNP

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Amerks outworked by neighbors

In Saturday AHL action, Jacob Lagace and Marcus Foligno potted goals for the second straight night but Rochester was dominated at Syracuse, 5-2.

After former Kelowna Rocket Kyle Cumiskey gave the Crunch a first period lead, Lagace scored his fifth of the season at 8:49 to tie the game 1-1 heading into the first intermission.

It was all Crunch from there as Syracuse would net the game's next four goals, including the first three on the power play, to stifle an Amerks offense that would fire just 13 shots over the final 40-minutes. The Crunch, on the other hand, fired 31 shots over that span for a total of 42 on Amerks netminder Drew MacIntyre.

Marcus Foligno, skating for the second straight night with Paul Szczechura and Zack Kassian, scored his fifth goal of the season in the game's final minute.

Orchard Park native and former Lowell standout Nick Schaus was -1 for the Crunch.

The Rundown:
Foligno: 1G, +1, 1 SOG
Lagace: 1G, 2 SOG
Kassian: +1, 2 SOG
McNabb: +1, 4 PIM
Schiestel: +1
Crawford: +1
Biega: +1, 1 SOG, 2 PIM
Brennan: -1, 3 SOG
MacKenzie: -1, 2 PIM
Szydlowski: DNP
Boychuk: DNP
Parker: DNP
Persson: DNP

Winners just once in their last seven, the Amerks will look for a rebound when the two clubs head back to Rochester for Sunday's rematch.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quick strikes key Amerks to victory

The Rochester Americans used quick starting abilities Friday, scoring all of their goals in the opening minutes of the first two periods to defeat Binghamton, 3-2.

Jacob Lagace and Zack Kassian put the Amerks in the drivers seat early with goals before the game was three minutes old. The tallies were the fourth of the season for each player.

With Rochester holding a 2-1 lead at the first intermission, Marcus Foligno would snatch the eventual game-winner just 1:39 into the middle frame. The marker was Foligno's fourth of the year and first game clincher of his professional career.

The game featured three fights, with Matt MacKenzie earning his second major of the season sandwiched between a Joe Finley-Francis Lessard double header.

Paul Szczechura made his Amerks debut, notching an assist on the Kassian goal. Maxime Legault (-1) also made his first appearance of the season.

The Rundown:
Foligno: GWG, +1, 3 SOG
Kassian: G, +1, 3 SOG
Lagace: G, +2, 2 SOG
Schiestel: 1A, +2, 3 SOG
McNabb: +2
Crawford: 3 SOG
MacKenzie: -1, fighting major
Brennan: 4 SOG
Biega: 4 PIM
Boychuk: DNP
Parker: DNP
Szydlowski: DNP
Persson: DNP

The Amerks square off with Syracuse on Saturday.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tropp produces as Amerks drop pair

Corey Tropp and Jacob Lagace each scored a goal Saturday as Rochester lost to Toronto 5-4 in overtime. Derek Whitmore lit the lamp twice to pace the Amerks offense, while Zack Kassian garnered an assist to give him points in six of his first seven professional games.

David Leggio made 26 saves in defeat to slip to 2-2-0-1 on the year.

The Rundown:
Tropp: 1G, 3 SOG
Lagace: 1G
Kassian 1A, 5 SOG
MacKenzie: +1
Brennan: 3 SOG
Szydlowski: even
McNabb: even
Biega: 1 SOG
Crawford: -2, 2 SOG
Parker: -1
Boychuk: 2 PIM
Foligno (suspended)


On Friday, Tropp bagged  a pair of goals as the Amerks opened their three-games-in-three-nights run with a 3-2 shootout loss to Hamilton. Tropp's tallies, the first off a wrister and the second a rebound tap-in, were the first of the season for the second year man.

Tropp and Kassian, who along with Brayden McNabb earned assists in the loss, would later add shootout goals as the Bulldogs needed eight rounds to earn the extra point.

East Amherst native and former UNH standout Phil DeSimone scored a goal for Hamilton.

The Rundown:
Tropp: 2G, 4 SOG
Kassian: 1A, 3 SOG
McNabb: 1A, 1 SOG
MacKenzie: 2 SOG, 4 PIM
Crawford: 3 SOG
Brennan: 1 SOG
Biega: 1 SOG
Lagace: 1 SOG
Boychuk: 2 SOG
Szydlowski: even
Parker (suspended)
Foligno (suspended)

Drew Schiestel and Dennis Persson sat out both games due to injury.

Rochester closes the weekend with a Sunday night match-up with Adirondack.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sundher in mix; Duo drop mitts

Kevin Sundher's hot start is garnering notice among world junior pundits including, according to his local paper the Times Colonist, Hockey Canada's Kevin Prendergast.

“Kevin is in the mix [to make the team for the world juniors],” said Kevin Prendergast, Hockey Canada head scout for national team programs.

“It’s safe to say he will play in one of the games in the Subway Series in November [when the WHL all-stars meet the Russian junior all-stars] and we will reevaluate all the players after that.

“Kevin is a good skater and knows how to score. I liked what he did last season [24 goals and 52 assists when the Royals were known as the Chilliwack Bruins] and like what he’s done early this season.”

Sundher admitted he was crestfallen over the summer when he was not invited to the Canadian national team prospects camp.

“I was disappointed but that added a fire in my belly,” said Sundher.

Read nothing into the summer invitations, said Prendergast.

“You can only bring so many guys into those camps,” he said.

So the puck definitely is on Sundher’s stick. Whether he makes the national junior side is up to him.

Wearing an "A" as part of Victoria's leadership core, Sunder has four goals and a WHL-best 17 assists through his first eleven games.


Lastly for all you savages, here are the first professional scraps for Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno - on the same shift - in Rochester's 7-2 win over Grand Rapids on Sunday. (courtesy of our friends at

Talk about a duo that needs a nickname. I would love to hear your ideas.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10/16 Recap: Kassian, Parker power Amerks onslaught

Zack Kassian scored two goals and Jonathan Parker added a single and two assists Sunday to power the Rochester Americans to a 7-2 shellacking of Grand Rapids. Marcus Foligno and Jacob Lagace also had goals for the winners, while ookie rearguard Brayden McNabb earned his first professional points with a pair of assists.

Parker continued his early season success with all three of his points in the first period as the Amerks jumped out to a 3-1 lead. Not surprisingly, a Red Wings prospect from Sweden (Gustav Nyquist) was able to get the Griffins on the board.

The Amerks would duplicate their three-goal output in the second period beginning with a backhand finish from Kassian at 9:12 to take a 6-2 advantage into the second intermission.

Things got chippy in the third period with the Amerks holding a comfortable lead. Three fights broke out involving Sabres prospects, highlighted by the Sabres rookie duo of Kassian and Foligno throwing at the same time.

Remember how when the Sabres drafted the pair in 2009, then-Sudbury coach Mike Foligno said that "Buffalo got the two toughest kids in the Ontario League"?

Kassian went toe-to-toe with former NHL vet Garnet Exelby, while Foligno took a decision over ex-WHLer Travis Ehrhardt. A minute after that double-feature, Corey Tropp was called to battle with former Amerk Doug Janik.

Tropp was given an interference penalty in the second period when he collided with/blew over Griffins center Landon Ferraro on a backcheck in front of the Amerks net. Tropp's shoulder seemed to make contact with the side of Ferraro's head, sending the Wings prospect hard to the ice and off to the dressing room.

The Rundown:
Kassian: 2G, 3 SOG, 15 PIM
Parker: 1G, 2A, +1
Foligno: 1G, +1, 12 PIM
Lagace: 1G, +1
McNabb: 2A, +3
Biega: 1A, +3
Szydlowski: 1A, +1
Crawford: 1A, +1
Boychuk: +1
Tropp: 3 SOG, 7 PIM
Brennan: 2 PIM

The Amerks will remain in Rochester for a game with in-state rival Syracuse on Tuesday.


In the lone junior game Sunday, Cedrick Henley recorded three shots on goal and two hits as Val-d'Or earned a 3-2 overtime victory over Shawinigan. The 6'5 forward has yet to score in 10 games this season, and has just one goal in his last 20 since returning from wrist surgery last February.

Friday, October 14, 2011

10/13 Recap: Shipley dishes pair; Amerks again sloppy

Steven Shipley collected a pair of power play assists Thursday as Niagara rode the momentum of Ryan Strome's return to a 5-0 shutout of Belleville. The 6'3 Shipley now has two goals and nine points in eight games this season. The Dogs return to action Friday at Plymouth.

Dan Catenacci saw a two-game point streak snapped as Owen Sound lost to Peterborough, 4-2. Owen Sound heads to Kitchener Friday.

In the AHL, the Sabres returned to the city of Rochester with great fanfare, but the Amerks were embarrassed by the Baby Pens, 5-1.

Marcus Foligno scored his first professional goal for the only Amerks marker. Zack Kassian, who earlier turned the puck over to create a shorthanded 5x3 goal against, picked up an assist for the second straight game.

The Rundown:
Foligno: 1G, -3, 2 SOG
Crawford: +1
Kassian: -1, 2 SOG
Boychuk: -1
Biega: -1, 4 SOG
Szydlowski: -1, 1 SOG
McNabb: -1
Tropp: -2, 1 SOG
Brennan: -2, 5 SOG
Parker: -2, 1 SOG

The Democrat & Chronicle recaps the fun:

The undercard was stirring and memorable, from the red-carpet entrance of players, and then some 50 alumni, to on-ice ceremonies before the opening faceoff with new owner Terry Pegula.
The main event was a colossal flop. The Amerks did their best to feed off the energy in the building by creating even more excitement with their play.
Instead, they made mistakes, flubbed passes, got carried away with trying to do too much, and were embarrassed. Again actually.

They were 5-2 losers at Hamilton on Saturday night in the season opener. So in two games they have been outscored 10-3.
"When you've got this many new faces on a team, one word comes to mind: Simplify," left winger Derek Whitmore said. "There's no reason to hit the panic button yet."

Jochen Hecht is expected to miss a few more games for the Sabres, but there's no question that Matt Ellis will make the Amerks a better team once he is sent back tp the AHL. The Amerks will continue looking for their first win on Friday at Lake Erie.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Amerks fall in opener

Newly signed Jonathan Parker scarfed up a rebound for his first professional goal, but the highlights were few as Rochester opened the 2011-12 campaign with a 5-2 loss at Hamilton.

T.J. Brennan and Zack Kassian, his first AHL point, earned assists, while Corey Tropp also added a helper while logging his first fighting major of the year. Tropp topped all Sabres prospects last season with nine tussles.

Drew Schiestel, playing his first game since last January, appeared to have injured his knee in the third period after falling awkwardly but early signs suggest that no damage was done.

Defensemen Matt MacKenzie and Nick Crawford were among the healthy scratches.

The Rundown:
Parker - 1PPG, 2 SOG, -1
Kassian - 1A, 5 SOG
Tropp - 1A, 2 SOG, -1, fighting major
Brennan - 1A, 2 SOG, -1
McNabb - 2 SOG (paired w/ Morrisonn)
Biega - even
Persson - 1 SOG
Szydlowski - even
Boychuk - 1 SOG
Foligno - 2 SOG, -1
Schiestel - -2

We'll turn it over to Kevin O. of the Rochester D&C for the game story:

Rochester Amerks open season with 'sloppy loss'

"The easiest lesson from tonight: We've got a lot to work on," said veteran left winger Colin Stuart, who wore the captain's "C."

"In order to be the team we want to be, we need to do a lot of things better."

Of course, with eight rookies in the lineup and just one preseason game against a collegiate team from Canada, the Amerks weren't exactly in real-game mode.

"It was pretty sloppy, that's pretty safe to say," defenseman T. J. Brennan said. "We have a lot of guys still getting their feet wet. It's a change. That's why it's Game 1 of 76, not the Calder Cup already."

Rochester kicks off the home schedule Thursday against Wilke-Barre.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

THN catches up with Kassian at Rookie Showcase

Check out this video interview with Zack Kassian from the NHL Rookie Showcase in Toronto.

While speaking with Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, Kassian quickly tocuhes on topics such as:

- thoughts on playing on a loaded Windsor lineup
- what he brings to the Sabres lineup
- things the Sabres have told him to work on
- how his toughness translates to the NHL
- his thoughts on Buffalo and playing for the Sabres organization

A decent quick hit worth watching even if it's just to see how large he looks next to an average-sized human.

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.

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.