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ESTEPHAN PICKS UP GWG, ASSIST AS LETHBRIDGE HEADS INTO HOLIDAY BREAK

by Kris Baker / Buffalo Sabres
(Photo Credit: Lethbridge Hurricanes)

Giorgio Estephan (2015, sixth round) scored the game-winning goal and added an assist Saturday as Lethbridge entered the holiday break with a 6-1 victory at Red Deer. Estephan captured his 14th goal of the year late in the first period when he broke in alone down the left side and slid a forehand underneath the Rebels’ netminder to make it a 2-1 game.

Estephan began the week by burying a rebound at the edge of the crease in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over Prince Albert, but saw his four-game point streak halted in a 3-1 loss to Edmonton on Friday. The right-handed centerman is currently tied for 18th among Western Hockey League scorers with 39 points (14+25) in 35 contests.


WHL
Prince Albert defenseman Brendan Guhle (2015, second round) ended a four-game point drought Saturday by scoring the game-winning goal in the Raiders’ 5-2 win over Brandon. With less than five minutes remaining in the opening frame, Guhle crept in from the left defensive post to knock in a rebound with his backhand.

The 18-year-old rearguard, who was kept off the scoresheet in both Tuesday’s loss to Lethbridge and Friday’s 3-1 win over Kelowna, heads home for the holiday with four goals and 12 points in 27 games with the Raiders.

Brycen Martin (2014, third round) picked up one assist Saturday as Everett dropped a 2-1 decision to Vancouver. The helper gives Martin 28 points (3+25) through 34 contests split between Saskatoon and Everett. Martin, who went without a point in Friday’s 3-2 overtime victory at Vancouver, has gathered four helpers in nine games since being dealt to the Silvertips.

Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) logged his second-career fighting major Friday as Kelowna was defeated 3-1 by Prince Albert. With a penalty coming to the Raiders, Stephens was skating to the bench when he was bumped from behind by Tim Vanstone. The two briefly tussled before dropping the gloves. Stephens tossed a few right hands and was grazed by an uppercut before both players tumbled to the ice.

Stephens completed the week Saturday with a plus-3 rating in the Rockets’ 5-3 loss to Saskatoon. Through 35 outings, he has two goals, six points and a plus-13 rating.


OHL
In Friday action, Peterborough captain Eric Cornel (2014, second round) scored his 17th goal of the season as the Petes were toppled by Ottawa 5-4. Cornel connected when he carried the puck through center and retrieved the rebound of his own dump-in to get his second goal in as many games.

The night before, the crafty playmaker drove the center lane and keenly controlled a pass for a forehand finish from the slot in a 5-4 shootout loss to Owen Sound. Cornel, who added an assist in the loss to the Attack, has been on a tear of late that has seen him accumulate 26 points in his last 19 games.


QMJHL
Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) has been forced out of the upcoming World Junior Championship with a broken right thumb. The injury, which happened in one of Karabacek's last games with Baie-Comeau before departing for the Czech Republic training camp, is expected to keep him out of commission for at least three weeks.

When Karabacek does return to action, he’ll do it with a different team as the Czech scorer was sent from Baie-Comeau to Moncton on Saturday. In 23 QMJHL leading up the trade, Karabacek captured eight goals, 16 points and 93 shots on goal for a Drakkar squad ranked dead last in the QMJHL standings.


Sweden
Jonas Johansson (2014, third round) made 21 saves Tuesday to help Almtuna IS to a 3-1 triumph over IK Pantern. Johansson has appeared in 27 Allsvenskan league games this season for AIS, posting a 15-11 record and two shutouts to go along with a 2.31 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. With Felix Sandstrom (PHI) competing for Sweden at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, Johansson has been recalled by Brynas IF of the SHL.


World Junior Pre-Tournament
Team USA hopeful William Borgen (2015, fourth round) skated on a defensive pair with Miami University standout Louis Belpedio (MIN) Friday, notching one assist as the Americans skated to a 4-0 exhibition win over the University of Massachusetts.

Borgen earned a helper on Team USA's third goal at 5:00 of the second period when his dump into the right corner rebounded right to the stick of Sonny Milano (CLB) for the quick-strike tally. Borgen and Team USA resume training camp this week in Finland before Wednesday’s final cutdown.

Massachusetts freshman defender Ivan Chukarov (2015, seventh round) finished with a minus-2 rating in the loss to the U.S. National Junior Team.


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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