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Hagel leads WHL playoff scoring with 6 goals

by Kris Baker @SabresProspects /

Red Deer Rebels winger Brandon Hagel (2016, sixth round) had a breakout campaign during the 2016-17 regular season with 31 goals and 71 points in 65 games, including an impressive finishing kick with nine goals and 15 points in his final six contests.

It's safe to say Hagel's highly-productive ways have continued into the Western Hockey League postseason.

After the Rebels earned the road split in Lethbridge to open their first-round Eastern Conference with the Hurricanes, Hagel scored a third-period goal on the power play Wednesday as Red Deer came back to earn a 4-3 victory in double overtime to take Game 3.

Tweet from @SabresProspects: WATCH: Brandon Hagel hits the paint gets the putback goal, his second of the playoffs, as Red Deer takes a 2-1 series lead over Lethbridge

Hagel kept it going the next night, scoring two more goals including a late empty-netter to ice a 5-3 win in Game 4 to out the Rebels ahead 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.

It was more of the same for Hagel on Saturday, as the sparkplug added two more goals to his stack in a 5-3 loss at Lethbridge.

Hagel extended his point streak to four games Sunday, picking up an assist in the final minute of the opening frame, but it was all the Rebels could muster in a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes in Game 6. Through the first six games of the opening round, Hagel leads all WHL skaters with six goals, including a shorthanded marker, which is tied for the league lead.

The Rebels and Hurricanes will play their deciding Game 7 Tuesday evening in Lethbridge.


Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) ripped a one-timer for his first goal of the SHL playoffs Monday as Frolunda HC forced a Game 7 in their SHL quarterfinal series with a 2-1 victory over Skelleftea AIK. 

Tweet from @SabresProspects: WATCH: Victor Olofsson rips a one-timer for his first goal of the series as Fr��lunda forces a Game 7 with SAIK. PP specialist. #Sabres

Olofsson's best was yet to come, though, as the sniper played Game 7 hero with a perfectly placed shot at 9:52 of overtime to give Frolunda the 3-2 victory to set up a date with Brynas IF in the league's semifinal round. 

Tweet from @SabresProspects: WATCH: Victor Olofsson proves he's a big-game player with the game-winning snipe in Game 7 OT to send Fr��lunda to the SHL semifinals #Sabres

Prior to the game-winning goal, Olofsson also earned the primary assist on the game-tying marker early in the final period.

The semifinal series commenced Sunday, with Olofsson earning one assist as Frolunda scored three third-period goals but ultimately fell to Brynas 4-3 in Game 1.

Olofsson has two goals and six points in eight playoff contests while averaging 15:04 of work per game.


Giorgio Estephan (2015, sixth round) was out of the lineup as Lethbridge dropped Games 3 and 4 versus Red Deer, but made an impact upon his return Saturday in Game 5 with an empty-net goal and a pair of assists to earn the game's third star to help the Hurricanes to a 5-3 victory over the Rebels. 

Estephan picked up an assist and a plus-3 rating Sunday as the Hurricanes forced a Game 7 with a 4-1 win over the Rebels, giving him five points (1+4) and a plus-7 rating in four playoff appearances.

Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) registered one assist Sunday as Kelowna eliminated Kamloops with a 4-2 victory in Game 6 of their first-round Western Conference series. Stephens has three points (0+3) through the first six games of the playoffs heading into the Rockets' second round matchup against a yet-to-be determined opponent.

Brendan Guhle (2015, second round) notched a pair of assists Wednesday as Prince George cruised to a 6-1 triumph over Portland in Game 3 of their first-round series, and recorded two more helpers Thursday as the Cougars dropped a 5-4 decision in Game 4. 

Guhle was quieted Saturday in a 5-3 loss to the Winterhawks, putting the favored Cougars in a 3-2 series hole entering Monday's Game 6 in Portland. Through five postseason tilts, Guhle has six assists and a plus-2 rating. 


Vasily Glotov (2016, seventh round) added one assist to his playoff total Tuesday as Cape Breton downed Gatineau 5-2 to take a 3-0 series lead. Glotov was unable to produce Wednesday and Friday as the Screaming Eagles dropped Game 4 by a 4-3 score and allowed the Olympiques back in the series with another loss in Game 5, 5-3. 

Glotov has three assists in the series with Game 6 set for Monday in Cape Breton.


Cliff Pu (2016, third round) notched one assist last week as London dropped Games 3 and 4 of their first-round playoff series with Windsor before winning the next two to force a deciding Game 7 Tuesday on home ice. Pu has three points (1+2) through the first six games of the series.

Mississauga defenseman Austin Osmanski (2016, seventh round) finished with a plus-1 rating Sunday as the Steelheads toppled Ottawa 5-1 to close out their first-round series in six games. Osmanski recorded 12 shots on goal in the opening round for the Steelheads, who will face a yet-to-be determined opponent in the conference semifinals starting Friday.


Programming reminder: Two Sabres prospects will appear in the NCAA Frozen Four Championship on Thursday. 

Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) and Harvard will battle Minnesota-Duluth at 6 p.m. in the first semifinal (ESPN2).

Standout goaltender Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) and Notre Dame will take on Denver in the second semifinal. Game time is set for 9:30 on ESPN2.

For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, 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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