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CHL PROSPECTS' SEASONS IN FULL SWING

by Kris Baker / Buffalo Sabres

Regular-season action hit full stride last week in the Canadian Hockey League, and a few Buffalo Sabres prospects played a part in keying their teams to early-season victories.

Vaclav Karabacek scored the game-winning goal for Baie-Comeau on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

WHL
Brycen Martin (2014, third round) scored one goal and added an assist in his season debut Friday to help Saskatoon to a 7-2 triumph over Prince Albert. Martin completed the home-and-home series against the Brendan Guhle-less Raiders on Saturday, logging a plus-2 rating and three minor penalties as the Blades were defeated on the road 6-5 in overtime. One of the team’s assistant captains for the 2015-16 season, Martin is expected to resume his top defensive duties alongside over-ager Mitchell Wheaton when the Blades host Medicine Hat on Friday.

Defenseman Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) notched one assist Friday as Kelowna kicked off the 2015-16 campaign with a 4-3 victory over Kamloops. The teams met again on Saturday, with Stephens logging his second-career fighting major in the Rockets’ 7-3 win over the Blazers. Kelowna’s early-season luck ran out on Sunday as Stephens finished with a minus-2 rating in a 5-2 loss at Vancouver. The Rockets are back in action Friday at Edmonton.

Giorgio Estephan (2015, sixth round) was unable to produce as Lethbridge opened the schedule with a 5-1 win over Medicine Hat on Friday. Estephan, who has been placed on the top line with Tyler Wong and Brayden Burke, was again shut out the following night as the Hurricanes lost the rematch with the Tigers by a 5-3 score. Estephan will look to get on the score sheet Saturday when the Hurricanes visit Kootenay.

QMJHL
Vaclav Karabacek(2014, second round) was blanked Friday as Baie-Comeau was shellacked by Gatineau 7-1. Karabacek, who couldn’t get going in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Shawinigan, finally cracked the code on Sunday, scoring the game-winning goal on the power play with 3:07 left to play in regulation to thrust the Drakkar to their first win of the season 3-2 win at Quebec. Baie-Comeau will need Karabacek to keep connecting on Friday when they travel to play a Rimouski squad that has won four straight contests.

OHL
Eric Cornel didn’t waste any time getting his season going, collecting an assist just 10 seconds into his first shift back from Sabres camp in Peterborough’s 5-4 win over Ottawa on Thursday. Cornel, who added a second helper in the Petes’ season-opening win over the 67’s, kept it going with another assist Friday in a 4-1 win at North Bay. Cornel’s three assists are tied for third-most in the league entering the second week of action, which begins Thursday versus Mississauga.

Sweden
Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) scored his first goal of the season Friday as MODO was defeated by Linkoping HC 3-2. With MODO trailing 3-1 in the third period, Possler accepted a lead pass and broke down the left side to make it a one-goal game with 6:48 remaining in regulation. Possler has captured two points (1+1) in three games, and could see a bump up from his current average of 13:45 of work per contest moving forward.

Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) notched an assist in MODO’s Friday loss to Linkoping HC, giving the right-winger a team-leading three points (1+2) through the first three games this season. MODO continues the SHL schedule Tuesday with a rematch at Linkoping HC.

Goaltender Jonas Johansson (2014, third round) earned the victory in one of his two starts last week, making 28 saves Thursday to backstop Almtuna IS to a 5-3 win over BIK Karlskoga. Earlier in the week, Johansson surrendered three goals on 12 shots in a 3-1 home-ice loss to Timra IK on Tuesday. Johansson has started five of Almtuna’s seven HockeyAllsvenskan games, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.21 GAA and .908 save%. AIS returns to work Tuesday at Leksands IF.


For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects) for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.

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