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ESTEPHAN RETURNS FROM INJURY, DOESN'T MISS A BEAT

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

Giorgio Estephan (2015, third round) returned for his first action since Feb. 2 on Friday, scoring a goal and an assist in the first five minutes of the game as Lethbridge smoked Saskatoon 10-3. Estephan had missed the previous 13 games with an ankle injury.

It didn't take long for the Hurricanes’ dangerous first line to rekindle their season-long magic, with Estephan taking a pass down the left side from Tyler Wong and lighting the lamp just 41 seconds in.

Exactly four minutes later, Estephan notched a power-play helper with a good zone entry as the Hurricanes planted the seeds for their blowout win.

On Saturday, Estephan picked up another assist as part of an excellent all-around effort that saw him earn the game's third star in the Hurricanes’ 3-2 loss to Prince Albert.

The crafty pivot enters the final stretch of the regular season with 28 goals and 65 points in 52 contests.


NCAA
Jason Kasdorf posted back-to-back 33-save performances over the weekend as RPI defeated Brown by scores of 3-2 and 4-3 to sweep the ECAC Tournament opening round series.

Kasdorf, who also added an assist to his resume in Saturday’s victory, improved to 12-11-5 with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. The Engineers move on to face Sean Malone and Harvard in a quarterfinal round series beginning Friday.

Brown forward Maxwell Willman (2014, fifth round) connected on a wrist shot from the right circle for his third goal of the year Friday in the Bears’ 3-2 loss at RPI. On Saturday, Willman notched a pair of assists for the first multiple point game of his collegiate career as Brown’s season came to an end.

Willman's sophomore campaign concludes with 11 points (3+8) and 64 shots on goal in 29 games. He rang up seven of those points in his final 10 games.

Massachusetts defenseman Ivan Chukarov (2015, seventh round) sent two shots on goal Friday in a 2-1 overtime loss at Boston University in the opening game of their Hockey East Tournament series.

Chukarov logged two more shots on goal and a plus-1 rating Saturday as the Minutemen fought hard, but saw their season come to an end with a 5-4 loss to the Terriers. Chukarov appeared in all 36 games as a freshman, scoring three goals and eight points while producing 36 shots on goal.

Hudson Fasching picked up an assist Friday as Minnesota skated to a 4-1 win at Michigan State. The helper gave the power forward points in six of his last seven games. Fasching was unable to get it going the following night, recording four shots on goal in a 5-0 loss to the Spartans.

Fasching, who has a team-best 19 goals to along with 35 total points, will look to bounce back Friday when the Gophers begin their final Big Ten set versus Wisconsin.

Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) fired from between the hash marks for his 15th goal of the year Friday as St. Cloud State downed Colorado College 5-2. Peterson added to his stack Saturday with his 16th tally as the Huskies closed the NCHC schedule with a 9-3 rout of the Tigers. The sophomore forward has 23 points in 33 games this season for the Huskies, who begin conference tournament action next weekend against Western Michigan.

St. Cloud State defenseman William Borgen (2015, fourth round) picked up his 12th assist of the year Friday by virtue of him joining the rush up ice on Peterson’s marker in the 5-2 win at Colorado College.

The freshman contributed one shot on goal Saturday as the Huskies closed out the series with a 9-3 trouncing of the Tigers. Through 32 contests, Borgen has amassed 12 points (0+12) and a plus-15 rating for a St. Cloud State team that has scored more goals than any other team in the country.


WHL
One night after picking up an assist in a 7-1 schooling of Kootenay, Prince Albert defenseman Brendan Guhle (2015, second round) scored his 10th goal of the year Saturday as the Raiders hung on for a 3-2 win over Lethbridge. Guhle scored with the game's first shot on goal when a faceoff was won back to the left point and he quickly released a shot that made its way past a couple of bodies before finding the back of the net.

Guhle has received a major dose of minutes this season, racking up 27 points in 57 contests while providing sound defensive play.

Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) logged a minus-1 rating each night as Kelowna dropped a pair of 3-2 losses to Kamloops. Stephens has eight points and a plus-6 rating with seven regular-season games left to play.

Everett defenseman Brycen Martin (2014, third round) remained out of the lineup last week with an upper body injury. Martin is listed as week-to-week and is expected to return in time for the playoffs.


QMJHL
Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) potted his 14th goal of the season Friday to help Moncton to a 6-0 drubbing of Drummondville. The determined effort saw Karbacek fend off a defender in the corner and power his way to the front of the net, where he batted his own rebound over the goal line.

Karabacek scored for the second-straight game Saturday as the Wildcats were defeated by Charlottetown 3-2. Karabacek, who tapped in a centering feed at the crease, has collected 15 goals and 26 points in 42 games.


OHL
Eric Cornel (2014, second round) registered one assist Thursday in Peterborough’s 7-4 triumph over Hamilton and returned to work Saturday with a pair of helpers as the Petes came back to earn a 5-4 win over Mississauga. Cornel's playmaking work boosts his career-high point total to 75 (26+49) through 62 games.


Sweden
Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) scored his ninth goal of the year Saturday while receiving over 22:00 of work for just the second time this season as MODO edged Karlskrona HK 2-1. Possler, who on Tuesday earned an assist in a 5-4 loss to Djurgardens IF before getting blanked in Thursday’s 2-0 loss to Vaxjo Lakers HC, has collected a career-high 24 points in 51 games. Possler's nine markers equal his previous career best, set last season.

Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) connected for a pair of assists Tuesday as MODO fell to Djurgardens IF 5-4. Olofsson, who went without a point in Thursday’s 2-0 loss to Vaxjo Lakers HC, and then assisted on MODO's first goal Saturday to extend his team-leading point total to 28 (13+15) in the victory over Karlskrona HK.

Jonas Johansson (2014, third round) stopped 27 of 28 shots Wednesday as Almtuna IS opened the Slutspelsserien round of the postseason with a 3-1 win over Timra IK. Johansson stopped 30 shots Friday as Almtuna IS was defeated by Mora IK 3-1. On Sunday, Johansson made 19 saves in a 5-1 loss to BIK Karlskoga. So far in three playoff starts, Johansson is 1-2 with a 2.68 GAA and a .905 save percentage.


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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