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OLOFSSON CATCHES FIRE WITH BACK-TO-BACK GAME-WINNERS

by Kris Baker / Buffalo Sabres
(Photo Credit: MODO Hockey)

The calendar flipped to February, and just like that, MODO forward Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) caught fire with goals in three-straight Swedish Hockey League games, including back-to-back game-winners, to continue his recent developmental spike.

The 20-year-old sniper began the week with an even-strength tally in MODO’s 5-3 loss to Brynas IF. At 17:22 of the opening period, Olofsson drove the center lane unabated, accepted a pass from the wing and deposited his 10th of the year to make it a 1-1 game.

On Thursday, Olofsson scored the game’s only goal as MODO edged Linkoping HC 1-0 for their second shutout victory of the season. Early in the second period, Olofsson entered the zone and set up at the right faceoff before burying a cross-ice feed with a bullet wrist shot for his second game-winning goal of the campaign.

Olofsson saved his best for last, ending the week Saturday with a regulation assist and a dazzling overtime marker in a 2-1 victory over the IF Malmo RedHawks. The multi-point effort was Olofsson’s second of the season and third of his SHL career.

Olofsson did it all himself just 49 seconds into the extra frame when he circled in the zone, played catch with a defender at the point, and cut to the net while flipping the puck to himself before roofing a high shot to end the game.

The goal, Olofsson's sixth in his last eight games, gives him a team-leading 12 on the season. The productive stretch has vaulted him into the team lead with 23 total points.


Sweden
In second division action, Jonas Johansson (2014, third round) made 21 saves Saturday to help Almtuna IS to a 4-2 win over BIK Karlskoga. Johansson, who stopped 24 of 25 shots in a 1-0 loss to Timra IK on Wednesday, has a league-high 22 victories against 13 losses, along the way compiling a 2.31 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.

MODO winger Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) extended is point drought to seven games as his club won twice and lost once. Possler, who has seen his ice time steadily decrease over the rough patch, has six goals and 18 points while appearing in all 42 games this season.


OHL
Eric Cornel (2014, second round) connected for a pair of assists Thursday to help Peterborough skate past Hamilton 4-1. Cornel recorded five shots on goal Friday, but saw his five-game point streak snapped as the Petes were blanked by Ottawa 3-0. Cornel has played in all 51 games this season, producing 23 goals, 58 points and 128 shots on goal.


QMJHL
After logging a minus-2 rating Wednesday in a 4-1 loss to Saint John, Moncton winger Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) ended his seven-game drought Saturday by scoring a goal and picking up an assist as the Wildcats were again defeated 5-4 in overtime by Victoriaville. The second-star effort gives Karabacek an even 20 points (10+10) through 32 contests.


WHL
Lethbridge centerman Giorgio Estephan (2015, sixth round) is expected to be out of the lineup for as many as six weeks after suffering a lower-body injury in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Kelowna. Late in the first period, Estephan slid feet-first into the end boards and was helped off the ice with an apparent ankle injury.

Estephan was among the league’s top performers prior to the setback, racking up 27 goals, 63 points and a plus-26 rating in 51 games.

Brendan Guhle (2015, second round) logged back-to-back minus-1 ratings as Prince Albert earned a 3-1 win over Prince George and a 2-1 shootout decision over Swift Current. Guhle has skated in 45 games for the Raiders, ringing up seven goals, 19 points and 43 PIM.

Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) logged a cumulative minus-2 rating last week as Kelowna overtook the top spot in the league standings with wins of two of their three contests. Stephens has played big minutes on the Rockets' top pair all season long, producing seven points (2+7) and a plus-8 rating in 53 appearances.

Brycen Martin (2014, third round) maintained his shutdown duties last week, netting a plus-1 rating as Everett ran the table with wins over Portland, Kamloops and Seattle. The mobile defender has played 53 games between Everett and Saskatoon this season, amassing four goals, 31 points and plus-9 rating. He has gone without a point in his last 10 outings.


NCAA
Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) was superb in making 38 saves Saturday as Notre Dame completed the Hockey East sweep with a 3-1 triumph at Vermont. Petersen, who started the set with a 23-save win over the Catamounts on Friday, has gone unbeaten in 14 of his last 15 starts to improve to 16-5-7 with a 2.13 GAA and a .929 save percentage.

Notre Dame centerman Connor Hurley (2013, second round) produced one shot on goal in Friday’s victory over Connecticut, and closed the weekend with an assist off a clean faceoff win in Saturday’s triumph over the Huskies. The assist gives the top-line pivot 13 points (4+9) in 27 appearances for the Fighting Irish.

On Friday, Hudson Fasching cranked a one-timer just 1:14 into the action for his 16th goal of the year as Minnesota downed No. 16 Penn State 4-1. Fasching remained productive the following day with a shorthanded assist in the Gophers’ 5-3 loss to the Nittany Lions. The helper, which came in the second period as he broke down the left side and sent a perfect pass to Justin Kloos for the finish, gives Fasching 29 points (16+13) in 27 games.

Fasching's 16 goals include three on the power play, two shorthanded and five game-winners. He has split the distribution evenly with eight each at home and on the road.

In Tuesday’s Beanpot opener, freshman forward Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round) recorded two shots on goal as No. 4 Boston College got past No. 7 Harvard 3-2. Brown continued Friday, setting up the game-winning goal as the Eagles held on for a 4-3 win over New Hampshire. Brown's assist gives him two goals and nine points through 27 contests. He'll play in the Beanpot final against Boston University on Monday.

Brown forward Maxwell Willman (2014, fifth round) earned a helper in Friday’s 3-2 loss to No. 7 Harvard. On Saturday, Willman registered an assist for the second straight game as the Bears were doubled by No. 20 Dartmouth 6-3. The sophomore winger has seven points (1+6) in 24 games, but has gone without a goal in his last 20.

Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) picked up one assist as No. 6 Providence earned the conference sweep with a 4-2 doubling of Maine. The thick defender, who registered two shots on goal in a 1-0 overtime victory over the Black Bears the night before, has 10 points (5+5) in 24 games for the Friars.

Ivan Chukarov (2015, seventh round) notched one assist Friday to extend his point streak to three games as Massachusetts was beaten by No. 9 Boston University 6-3. The freshman defender has seven points (2+5) through his first 28 collegiate tilts.

In Friday action, Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) struck at even strength for his 13th goal of the year as No. 3 St. Cloud State cruised past Miami 5-1. The goal snapped an eight-game point drought for the sophomore forward. Peterson, who added two shot on goal in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the RedHawks, has 20 points in 27 games while ranking third on the team with 83 shots on goal.

St. Cloud State defenseman William Borgen (2015, fourth round) earned a helper on Peterson’s tally in Friday’s win over Miami, and contributed two shots on goal the following night in the loss to the RedHawks. Borgen has collected 10 assists and a plus-13 rating in 26 games as a collegian.

Jason Kasdorf stopped 31 shots Friday as No. 14 RPI was blanked by St. Lawrence 3-0. Kasdorf returned to crease Saturday for his 11th consecutive start, making 29 saves as the Engineers dropped their third straight contest 4-2 to Clarkson. The skid has dropped the senior goaltender to an 8-8-4 record with a 2.15 GAA and a .934 save percentage.

Harvard forward Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) was kept off the scoresheet Monday No. 7 Harvard was edged by No. 4 Boston College 3-2 at the Beanpot. Malone then compiled four shots on goal in Friday’s 3-2 win at Brown, and logged a minus-1 rating the next night as the Crimson came up short 2-1 at No. 11 Yale. Malone has captured five goals and 11 points in 20 games.


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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