After leading the Winnipeg Ice to the WHL Championship Series during the 2022-23 campaign, forwards Zach Benson and Matt Savoie reunited on the ice at Sabres rookie camp.

The dynamic duo played on the same line for the second day in a row Thursday, joined by Filip Cederqvist.

Benson has enjoyed having his linemate by his side during his first camp as it’s helped boost his confidence and given him a role model to follow.

“You know, obviously you’re still a little nervous for the first practice, but to have a guy like Matt to play with, we kind of know how to read off each other,” Benson said. “It’s definitely helped.”

Zach Benson addresses the media

Prior to his trip to Buffalo, Benson posted four goals and one assist in two preseason games with the Wenatchee Wild, including a hat trick and the game-winning goal in a 4-3 overtime victory over Everett.

The 18-year-old’s speed and stick skills have been on full display at practice, making the trio a fun line to watch.

“He has great edges, and he can find things out of nothing,” Savoie said. “Just playing with him last year, he was able to protect the puck and shake guys off and find different passing lanes that normally aren’t there, normally don’t open up. He’s a real special player.

“He’s real dynamic, so I’m looking forward to playing with him a little bit in the prospects tournament as well.”

The Prospects Challenge kicks off Friday at LECOM Harborcenter. Buffalo will face off against the Montreal Canadiens at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the team’s YouTube channel.  

Here are more notes from Thursday’s practice.

1. Following practice Thursday, Isak Rosen spoke with the media and emphasized how Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert pushed him to work hard throughout the season and how it aided in his growth and development.

In 2022-23, Rosen recorded 37 points (14+23) in 66 games for the Amerks during his rookie year.  

“I went hard every day,” Rosen said. “Apps was on me every day to go hard in practice, and I think that rewarded me later in the season to be a better player.”

He also added how his friendship with Jiri Kulich has challenged him to play at his best.

“Best friends outside of the ice, but on the ice, we challenge each other,” he said. “Don’t want to be worse, so we challenge each other every day and always want to score more goals than the other. So, it’s really good.”

Isak Rosen addresses the media

2. Defenseman Ryan Johnson spoke highly of Nathan Paetsch, who embarked on a new journey with the organization back in July as an assistant coach for the Rochester Americans after spending the previous two seasons as a player development coach for the Sabres.

Johnson is looking forward to seeing Paetsch on the bench after developing a relationship with him and taking advice from him for the past few years.

“He’s very personable,” Johnson said. “…He’s obviously played the game for a long time, so he knows most of the habits that it takes to play at a high level.

“It’s going to be really cool.”

Ryan Johnson addresses the media

3. The Sabres practiced with the same lineup as they did Wednesday. The seven defensemen rotated partners throughout the session while the forward lines remained the same. Here’s how the forward group lined up:

63 Isak Rosen – 20 Jiri Kulich – 54 Olivier Nadeau

9 Zach Benson – 93 Matt Savoie – 49 Filip Cederqvist

52 Aleksandr Kisakov – 48 Tyson Kozak – 79 Viktor Neuchev

95 Ethan Miedema – 60 Damien Giroux – 67 Graham Slaggert

86 Dominick Mersch – 29 Riley Fiddler-Schultz – 56 Lawson Sherk