The deep playoff run ended for the Erie Otters Friday following a 6-2 loss to the Oshawa Generals in Game 5 of the Rogers OHL Championship Series.
And so, for the first time since 2007, the Sabres will not have one of their prospects participating at the Memorial Cup, where the winners of the Ontario, Western and Quebec leagues do battle with the host team for the top prize in Canadian major-junior hockey.
Sabres forward prospect Nicholas Baptiste (2013, third round) logged a minus-3 rating in Friday's loss, leaving him with one goal and two assists in the final round, and totals of 12 goals and 23 points in 20 playoff contests.
Exactly half of Baptiste’s dozen playoff markers came on the power play. He connected on the majority of them from his hot spot inside the left faceoff circle.
Baptiste began the week by producing an assist on the game-winning goal as Erie earned a 4-3 win in Game 3 on Monday. Connor McDavid, a top prize in the 2015 NHL Draft, led the way with a goal and a helper in the victory as the Otters halved the Generals’ lead in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.
On Wednesday, Baptiste remained productive with one goal and one assist as Erie battled hard but came up short in 6-5 overtime loss in Game 4.
With Oshawa out to an early 2-0 lead, Baptiste got the Otters on the board at 15:10 of the opening frame when he one-timed a Remi Elie (DAL) feed on the power play. The teams would trade goals through 40 minutes and play a scoreless third period before Cole Cassels (VAN) ended it at 8:19 of overtime with a power-play goal of his own.
Wednesday’s loss put the Otters on the verge of elimination and the Generals smelled blood in the water as they posted a dominating performance in Friday’s series clincher.
The 20-game finish to Baptiste’s junior career provided a greater indication that the 19 year old has the makings of a reliable two-way winger who can add some scoring punch on an NHL energy line.
He'll more than likely need some time to adjust to the pro tempo with Rochester of the American Hockey League, but his quick acceleration, willingness to make contact and ability to get pucks to the net make for a compelling prospect.
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.