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by Kris Baker / Buffalo Sabres

UPDATE (4:20 p.m.): Preliminary rosters for the 2016 World Junior Championship have been rolling in and Vaclav Karabacek won't be the only Sabres prospect with an inside track on playing in the tournament after Team USA announced its preliminary roster today:

(Minnesota Golden Gophers)

Hudson Fasching was an overtime difference maker over the weekend as the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers opened Big Ten conference play with a two-game sweep of Ohio State.

On Friday, Fasching scored the game-winning goal at 1:08 of overtime and added one assist as Minnesota defeated the Buckeyes 3-2 in the series opener. With Tommy Novak (NSH) carrying the puck with speed, Fasching drifted low to the right faceoff circle and one-timed a pass from beneath the goal line for his fifth goal of the year.

The third-year forward put forth another excellent two-way effort on Saturday, launching five shots on goal and earning a helper on the overtime winner as the Gophers earned a 5-4 triumph over the Buckeyes.

Fasching was superb throughout the weekend with several key defensive plays to go along with his dominating presence in the high-traffic areas. The clutch production gives the junior power forward 11 points in 13 games heading into next weekend's set at Michigan.

Connor Hurley (2013, second round) scored his second goal of the year Saturday and supplied one assist as No. 20 Notre Dame earned the weekend sweep with a 5-1 win over Massachusetts. Hurley gave the Fighting Irish a 3-1 lead in the second period when he fronted a defender and redirected an oncoming shot past the UMass netminder.

Hurley, who was unable to connect in Friday’s 3-1 win over the Minutemen, has eight points (2+6) in 15 contests.

Notre Dame goaltender Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) made 27 saves in Friday’s series opening win over Massachusetts, and remained laser-focused the next night by stopping 28 of 29 shots as the Fighting Irish closed the set with a 5-1 victory. Peterson has won his last three starts to improve to 8-4-4 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) one-timed a shot from the point for his fourth goal of the year Friday as No. 1 Providence won 2-1 at No. 16 Merrimack. On Saturday, Florentino contributed four shots on goal as the Friars remained unbeaten with a 4-0 shutout of the Warriors.

Florentino has four goals and six points through a dozen outings for the unbeaten Friars, who next face crosstown rival Brown on Thursday in the annual Mayor's Cup game.

Goaltender Jason Kasdorf made 43 saves in his first start since Nov. 6 as RPI played to a 0-0 overtime tie with No. 8 Harvard. Kasdorf, whose first shutout of the year moves him to 3-4-1 with a 2.16 GAA and sparkling .937 save percentage, will look to keep the wall up next weekend when the Engineers welcome Arizona State to Troy for the very first time.

Harvard pivot Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) returned from a two-game absence to record one shot on goal and a boarding minor as the No. 8 Crimson played to a 4-4 tie with Union on Friday. Malone registered three shots on goal on Saturday, leaving him with five assists in eight appearances. He enters the holiday break with a six-game point drought.

Brown winger Max Willman (2014, fifth round) notched an assist Friday to record his first-ever three-game point streak as Brown was defeated by Princeton 4-2. Willman fired four shots on goal, but saw his three-game point streak snapped as the Bears were blanked by No. 3 Quinnipiac 3-0. Through 11 games, Willman has four points (1+3) and 19 shots on goal.

Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) scored his team-leading 10th goal of the year Friday before leaving the game with an injury as No. 7 St. Cloud State bested No. 6 Nebraska-Omaha 4-1.

The sophomore did not return after crashing into the boards during the second period, and will not be back in the lineup until after the holiday break. Through 15 appearances, Peterson has collected 14 points, 51 shots on goal and a plus-9 rating.

St. Cloud State defenseman Will Borgen (2015, fourth round) notched one assist in Friday’s win over Nebraska-Omaha. Borgen finished with a minus-two rating Saturday as the Huskies got smoked by the Mavericks 7-2.

The swift-skating Borgen has proven himself with seven assists in his first 16 collegiate games, and will look to keep improving next weekend when the Huskies battle conference rival Denver in a pair games before hitting the holiday break.

Chris Brown (2014, sixth round) contributed three shots on goal Friday as No. 2 Boston College and Northeastern ended in a 3-3 tie. Brown, who was unable to produce in Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the Huskies, has seven points (2+5) through his first 15 games.

Freshman defenseman Ivan Chukarov (2015, seventh round) combined for two shots on goal and a minus-3 rating over the weekend as Massachusetts was swept by No. 20 Notre Dame. Chukarov has two assists and a minus-10 rating in 17 games with the Minutemen.

Eric Cornel (2014, second round) continued his recent trend Thursday with an even-strength marker in Peterborough’s 6-2 loss to Kingston. Cornel kept at it by scoring his 15th goal of the year on the power play and adding an assist on the overtime winner as the Petes edged the Frontenacs 4-3 on Friday.

Cornel has been cruising of late, scoring a goal in four straight games and eight of his last nine to elevate him to 33 points through 29 games.

Vaclav Karabacek
(2014, second round) was held without a shot on goal for the first time this season Saturday, but still notched one assist as Baie-Comeau lost to Victoriaville 4-2. Karabacek, who earlier in the week was named to the Czech Republic World Junior training camp roster, has 16 points (8+8) in 23 games this season.

In Sunday action, Prince Albert defenseman Brendan Guhle (2015, second round) connected for his third goal of the year as the Raiders downed Red Deer 3-1.

Guhle, who netted an assist in Friday’s 2-0 win over Lethbridge, has points in two straight games for the first time since his first two tilts back in Prince Albert following his return from Buffalo in October. He has 10 points (3+7) in 22 games.

Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) notched an assist and netted a plus-one rating as Kelowna downed Portland 5-2. The steady 18-year-old defender has seven points (2+5) in 29 games while topping all Sabres prospects with a plus-11 rating. He's posted an even rating or better in his last 10 outings.

Giorgio Estephan (2015, sixth round) assisted on the game-winning goal Wednesday to help Lethbridge to a 6-4 win over Calgary. Estephan was unable to produce in Friday’s 2-0 loss to Prince Albert, and was again kept off the scoresheet Saturday as Lethbridge blew past Red Deer 6-2. Estephan has 30 points (9+21) in 29 games for the Central Division-leading Hurricanes, but has scored just one goal in his last nine.

Brycen Martin (2014, third round) was unable to get on the scoresheet in his first three games with the Everett Silvertips. The steady, two-way rearguard was acquired Monday morning in a trade with Saskatoon as Everett looks to position themselves for a second-half run to the playoffs. Martin has 24 points (3+21) in 28 games this season, which ties for ninth among WHL defenders.

Jonas Johansson (2014, third round) made 27 saves Wednesday and stopped all 10 shots he faced in the shootout as Almtuna IS edged Leksands IF 2-1.

Johansson, who stopped 19 of 20 shots Friday in a 2-1 shootout loss to IF Björklöven, bounced back with 32 saves in a 3-2 shootout win over VIK Vasteras HK on Sunday. The week’s work elevates Johansson to 13-11 with a 2.30 GAA and .917 save percentage.

Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) produced three shots on goal last week as MODO dropped a pair of decisions to Lulea HF by scores of 2-0 and 6-2. Possler has been playing better over the past month, but has gone without a point in his last four games. He has 12 points (4+8) in 25 contests.

Like Possler, Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) was also unable to get on the scoresheet in MODO’s losses to Lulea HF. Olofsson has seen his ice time dip since returning from the international break in mid-November and has yet to produce in two games since being a healthy scratch last week. In 23 appearances, the speedy shooter has four goals and 12 points.

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