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Another week, another hat trick for Sabres prospects

Defenseman Devante Stephens nets three goals for Kelowna

by Kris Baker @SabresProspects / SabresProspects.com

The past two Prospects Reports have been headlined by a three-goal performance (first by Christopher Brown and then Judd Peterson), and what do you know? The group pulled through with one more to close out October with the trick or treat trifecta.

Kelowna defenseman Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) was a key factor Saturday, scoring his first WHL hat trick, including the shorthanded game-winner, to earn the game's first star as the Rockets earned a 5-3 victory at Portland.

After roofing a shot for his second goal of the year at 23 seconds of the second period, Stephens showed his supreme speed in the final frame to get his second of the game.

With the game knotted at three goals apiece and his team down a man, Stephens bolted out of his zone without the puck to create an odd-man rush. Stephens won a footrace to get into scoring position and deposited the perfect feed with 11:57 left in regulation for his first career short-handed goal.

Stephens capped the hat trick with an empty-net goal that thus far has been credited to a teammate but will certainly be changed. 

Prior to the highlight reel performance, Stephens began the week Wednesday with an assist in a 6-4 win over Victoria. He'd finish the week with even-rating in Kelowna's 3-2 victory over Portland on Sunday.

Stephens had his ups and downs last season, but is starting to take his game to the next level thanks largely to his "NHL speed." He's covering a lot of ground defensively, jumping up into the play with regularity, and adding a little spice to the Kelowna attack whenever he is on the ice. 

The increased efficiency has resulted in four goals, seven points, and a plus-2 rating in 14 games.

 

OHL

Cliff Pu (2016, third round) continued his tear through the OHL last week, compiling three points in two outings to extend his point streak to nine games.

On Friday, Pu got to the front of the net and successfully jammed at a second chance midway through the third period in London's 4-3 overtime loss to Sault Ste. Marie. Pu's second-star effort was highlighted by a career-high 13 shots on goal.

Pu remained a nuisance around the net on Saturday, capitalizing on a sloppy play to score the short-handed game-winner at the door step and later adding an assist as the Knights got past Sarnia 5-3. Pu now has goals in three straight contests.

Pu's hot start, which has seen him capture a point in 10 of his 11 games, has him tied for 10th in league scoring with 19 points (8+11).

Mississauga defenseman Austin Osmanski (2016, seventh round) netted a cumulative minus-1 rating as the Steelheads dropped a pair of games to Sarnia and Oshawa. The East Aurora product has one goal and three total points in a dozen outings.

 

WHL

Brandon Hagel (2016, sixth round) set a screen and tipped home his fourth goal of the year Wednesday as Red Deer defeated Brandon 5-2. Hagel saw his three-game goal streak end on Friday in a 5-2 loss to Medicine Hat. He again went without a point in Saturday's 6-1 loss to Lethbridge, leaving him with 11 points (4+7) through 13 games.

Lethbridge centerman Giorgio Estephan (2015, sixth round) snuck a shot through the goalie from the right circle Friday for his team's only goal in a 2-1 loss to Prince George. Estephan kept up his pace on Saturday, connecting for a pair of tallies in the Hurricanes' 6-1 thrashing of Red Deer.

The three-point week ups Estephan's season totals to six goals and six assists through 11 contests.  

In Friday action, Brendan Guhle (2015, second round) gained the zone and connected on a quick wrist shot from above the left circle for his first goal of the year as Prince Albert was doubled by Spokane 4-2. 

Guhle, who played to an even rating in a 1-0 loss to Saskatoon on Saturday, has collected the one goal through seven appearances while being tasked with shutting down the opposition's top forwards.

Prince Albert defenseman Vojtech Budik (2016, fifth round) picked up a power-play helper Friday in the Raiders' loss to Spokane, and recorded a cross checking penalty in Saturday's 1-0 loss to Saskatoon. Budik has four assists and a plus-3 rating in his first dozen games.

 

QMJHL

Vasily Glotov (2016, seventh round) snatched a goal and an assist Wednesday to help Cape Breton to a 5-2 triumph over Moncton. The Russian pivot was held pointless on Friday and Saturday as the Screaming Eagles split a home-and-home series with Halifax to end the week with three goals and 12 points in 14 games.

 

NCAA

Harvard centerman Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) had a solid opening weekend versus Arizona State, connecting for a pair of assists in Friday's 7-0 shutout victory, and ringing up two goals and an assist on Saturday as the Crimson earned the sweep with a 6-2 win. 

Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) allowed three goals on 24 shots Thursday as Notre Dame opened conference play with a 4-2 loss to Connecticut. The third-year starter rebounded with a strong performance the following night, stopping 30 of 32 shots to backstop the Fighting Irish to a 6-2 victory over the Huskies. 

The weekend split gives Petersen a 4-3-1 record with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage entering November.

Notre Dame forward Connor Hurley (2013, second round) earned an assist in Thursday's 4-2 loss to Connecticut, and returned with the game-winning goal and an assist on Friday as the Fighting Irish closed out the Huskies 6-2.

At 1:09 of the second period, Hurley went to the net with his stick down and received a pass for the 5-hole finish to make it a 3-0 Notre Dame lead. Hurley has gotten off a strong start this season, amassing two goals and 10 points in his first eight games.

Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) kept up his scoring ways over the weekend, scoring a goal in both contests as St. Cloud State swept visiting Alabama-Huntsville by scores of 5-1 and 5-2. Through six games, Peterson leads the Huskies attack with six goals and seven points while firing 20 shots on goal.

Second-year rearguard William Borgen (2015, fourth round) supplied four shots on goal for St. Cloud State in Friday's 5-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville, and then produced a pair of assists the following night in a 5-2 win over the Chargers. Borgen has three assists and a plus-3 rating in his six appearances.

Providence defenseman Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) scored a late goal Sunday to help the Friars to a 6-0 thrashing of Brown in the annual Mayor's Cup game. Florentino, who sent two shots on goal Friday in a 3-1 loss to Boston College, has two goals and two assists through his first five games.

Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round) earned one assist Tuesday as Boston College opened conference play with a 2-2 tie at Merrimack. The sophomore forward was kept off the scoresheet in Friday's 3-1 win over Providence, but got back on track Saturday with another helper as the Eagles skated to a 7-4 victory at Massachusetts.

Brown enters November tied for the team lead with eight points (3+5) in the Eagles' first nine games.

Boston College defenseman Casey Fitzgerald (2016, third round) posted two points as the Eagles won two of three games last week, picking up assists in the wins over Providence and Massachusetts. The 19-year-old sophomore has three goals, seven points and a plus-6 rating in eight games played.

Sophomore defenseman Ivan Chukarov (2015, seventh round) registered a team-high four shots on goal Wednesday as Massachusetts opened conference play with a 3-2 loss at Quinnipiac.

Chukarov capped the week with one assist Friday in a 4-1 loss to New Hampshire, and two shots goal in Saturday's 7-4 loss to Boston College. The Illinois native has two assists, 15 shots on goal and a minus-5 rating through six games.

Brown winger Maxwell Willman (2014, fifth round) paced the attack with four shots on goal Friday as the Bears opened the season with a 3-0 loss to Holy Cross, and then logged a minus-4 rating Sunday in a 6-0 loss to Providence. 

 

USHL

Penn State commit Brett Murray (2016, fourth round) notched one assist in Youngstown's 3-2 win over Team USA on Friday. Murray, who was shut out in a 3-2 win over Chicago on Sunday, enters November tied for sixth in league scoring with 12 points (3+9) after his first 11 games.

Madison defenseman Philip Nyberg (2016, fifth round) produced one shot on goal Sunday in a 4-1 win over Bloomington. The Wisconsin commit has two points (1+1) in nine games with the Capitols.

 

Sweden

Rasmus Asplund (2016, second round) went to the net and redirected a shot for his third goal of the year Saturday as Farjestad BK earned a 5-3 decision over Leksands IF. 

The goal-scoring performance was sandwiched between a one-assist effort in Tuesday's 5-1 loss to Brynas IF and Sunday's pointless showing in a 2-1 win over Leksands. Asplund has been seeing the ice in all situations for the third-place club, garnering seven points (3+4) while averaging 17:05 of work per game.

Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) earned a power-play helper Tuesday as Frolunda HC got past IF Malmo RedHawks 3-1.

Olofsson was blanked in Thursday's 2-1 loss to Karlskrona HK, and got back on the scoresheet Saturday with another assist in a 4-2 doubling of Skelleftea AIK. At the 15-game mark, Olofsson has collected two goals and five points.

Almtuna IS goaltender Jonas Johansson (2014, third round) won one of his two starts last week, making 28 saves in Wednesday's 4-1 win over MODO before stopping 24 of 27 shots in a 3-2 loss to Timra IK on Friday.

Johansson has started 10 of the 14 games that Almtuna IS has played, earning an even 5-5 record with a 1.52 GAA and a .946 save percentage.

Djurgarden IF winger Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) remained out of action with a lower-body injury. He has yet to skate in a game this season.

 

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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