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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres

Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) scored his fifth goal of the playoffs Saturday to help Moncton to a 5-4 triumph over Rouyn-Noranda in Game 2 of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal series.

Karabacek, who logged a minus-3 rating Friday as Moncton opened the series with a 4-1 loss, broke a 3-3 tie with 2:53 left in regulation when he went to the net and put his stick down to redirect a Zack McEwen pass into the upper right corner of the net.

The Wildcats would add an empty net goal in the final minute before Rouyn-Noranda’s Jacob Neveu (2016) got one back with 29 seconds left to make it a 5-4 final.

The best-of-seven series heads to Moncton for Tuesday’s Game 3.

On April 18, Karabacek went without a point as the Wildcats advanced to the semifinal round with a 7-2 stomping of Gatineau in the pivotal Game 7.

The Czech winger has produced seven points (5+2) and 29 shots on goal through 13 playoff contests.

In Tuesday’s Game 7, Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) held firm defensively as Kelowna claimed a 3-2 overtime victory over Victoria in one of the most exciting junior hockey games of the year. The win thrusted the Rockets into the Western Conference Championship series for the second consecutive season.

The Rockets trailed 2-0 entering the third period, but battled back with a pair of goals from Justin Kirkland (NSH), including the game-tying marker with 0.2 seconds left on the clock to force extra time.

With momentum on their side, Swiss import winger Calvin Thurkauf spun and fired from the right faceoff circle at 5:56 of the overtime session to cap the wild comeback, and set the stage for the Rockets’ conference final showdown with Seattle.

Stephens opened the series against Seattle on Friday with his usual steady defensive play, logging an even rating as Kelowna fell 2-1 to the Thunderbirds on home ice. The teams got right back at it Saturday with the mobile left-hander submitting a plus-1 rating as the Rockets dropped a 3-2 decision in Game 2.

Stephens has one assist and a plus-1 rating in 16 postseason contests.

Kelowna will look to halve the 2-0 series deficit when the series resumes Tuesday in Seattle.

For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline and an updated organizational depth chart, check out Kris Baker’s website, 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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