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Florentino nets 1st-career hat trick for Providence

by Kris Baker @SabresProspects / SabresProspects.com

Providence senior defenseman Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) made quite a statement Saturday, scoring three goals, including the game-winner, for his first-ever NCAA hat trick to lead the Friars to a 5-3 victory over visiting Maine.

Just like all of his other tallies this season, Florentino's trio of markers came from range as he used his ability to get his shot through from the point and make a difference to catapult the Friars to their seventh consecutive win in Hockey East play. 

Tweet from @SabresProspects: One last time: A well-deserved round of applause for D Anthony Florentino after popping in THREE last night for the Friars. Happy for him pic.twitter.com/6hNIVA5wt9

The big night, which marked the only hat trick for a defenseman in Hockey East this season, boosts the West Roxbury, Mass. native to a career-high eight goals in 21 games this season. His 15 points ties his previous career best set in 2014-15 as a sophomore when he accomplished the task in 40 games during the Friars' run to a national championship.

Florentino, who has rotated in and out of the lineup at various points throughout the season as Providence manages playing time for their talented fleet of rearguards, leads all Sabres defensive prospects with 0.38 goals per game. 

The 0.38 goals per game is also tops among all Hockey East defensemen with his eight markers just one behind the leader, Massachusetts-Lowell's Dylan Zink, who has appeared in eight more games than Florentino has.

Florentino is exuding confidence and letting his work speak for itself. It should be expected that he will not only force his way into big minutes in the final six conference games, but also be both a physical and offensive force during that stretch as the Friars vie for a first-round bye in the Hockey East Tournament.

For a Sabres organization looking to stockpile defensive depth, Florentino's development is a storyline worth watching.

Tweet from @SabresProspects: #Sabres prospects goals per game leaders:C: Pu (.60), Malone (.59)W: Bailey (.49), Baptiste, Hagel (.46)D: Florentino (.38), Guhle (.30)


NCAA

Harvard centerman Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) scored twice Friday, the first with a redirect in front and the next with a beautiful effort play from his knees to get the game-winner, to guide the Crimson to a 5-2 victory over Dartmouth. Malone has 13 goals, 13 assists and a plus-11 rating while appearing in all 22 games this season.

After recording three shots on goal in Friday's 1-0 loss to Quinnipiac, Brown forward Max Willman (2014, fifth round) continued his excellent campaign Saturday by netting his 10th goal of the season in the Bears' 3-3 tie with Princeton. The third-year player has 20 points and a team-high 77 shots on goal in 23 contests.

Notre Dame goaltender Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) ran his consecutive starts streak to 78 over the weekend, making 43 saves in a 4-4 tie with Vermont on Friday and then stopping 31 shots and getting his first career assist in a 4-1 victory over the Catamounts on Saturday. Petersen is 15-9-4 this season with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.

Connor Hurley (2013, second round) remained out of action for Notre Dame in the weekend set with Vermont. Hurley has four goals and 16 points while appearing in 21 of the Fighting Irish's 28 games this season.

Casey Fitzgerald (2016, third round) collected an assist Friday to extend his point streak to three games as Boston College got past New Hampshire 6-4. The sophomore defender has five goals and 19 points through 26 outings.

Boston College sophomore Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round) did not dress Friday in the Eagles' 6-4 win at New Hampshire. Brown has thrived on Chestnut Hill this season, compiling 22 points (7+15) in 28 games.

Ivan Chukarov (2015, seventh round) pumped a season-high six shots on goal Friday as Massachusetts dropped a 3-1 decision at Boston University. Chukarov is logging big minutes in his second collegiate season, producing seven points (1+6) and 60 shots on goal through 28 games. 

Philip Nyberg (2016, fifth round) ramped up his contributions with seven shots on goal over the weekend as Connecticut battled to a pair of 2-2 ties in a home-and-some series with Merrimack. Nyberg has picked up four assists and 21 shots on goal in his first 10 collegiate tilts.

Will Borgen (2015, fourth round) contributed a combined two shots on goal and an even rating as St. Cloud State defeated North Dakota 3-1 on Friday and fell to the Fighting Hawks 2-1 in overtime the following night. In 27 games, Borgen has captured two goals and 11 points while providing valuable leadership on the Huskies' blueline.

Third-year forward Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) was unable to connect as St. Cloud State played to a conference split at North Dakota. Peterson has nine goals and 13 points in 28 games.

Brett Murray (2016, fourth round) provided one shot on goal each night as Penn State dropped a pair of games at Minnesota by scores of 5-1 and 5-2. The freshman winger has appeared in four games with the Nittany Lions, totaling one assist and six shots on goal.


WHL

Giorgio Estephan (2015, sixth round) had a full workload Wednesday, scoring twice, including the overtime winner, and adding an assist plus his third career fighting major to propel Lethbridge to a 3-2 victory over Red Deer.

Tweet from @SabresProspects: WATCH: Giorgio Estephan scores, scraps and later gets the OT winner as part of his Wednesday night Gordie Howe Hat Trick #Sabres pic.twitter.com/vlPvti0lig

Estephan picked up another assist in Friday's 3-0 shutout of Moose Jaw, leaving the top-line pivot with 26 goals and 63 points in 49 games.

Brandon Hagel (2016, sixth round) finished off a give-and-go for his 21st goal of the year Wednesday as Red Deer was defeated by Lethbridge 3-2 in overtime. Hagel added a pair of assists in Friday's 6-3 doubling of Prince Albert before closing the week with a plus-1 rating Saturday in a 4-3 loss to Saskatoon.

Tweet from @SabresProspects: WATCH: Brandon Hagel enters the zone and finishes off the give and go #Sabres pic.twitter.com/a7218khsM1

Hagel has an even 50 points and a plus-8 rating through 46 contests.

Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) connected on the power play Wednesday as Kelowna blew past Calgary 8-2. Stephens produced one assist in Friday's 3-2 win over Prince George and logged an even rating Saturday as the Rockets completed the sweep of the Cougars with a 5-1 triumph. Stephens has posted career highs of nine goals and 21 points in 48 games.

Defenseman Vojtech Budik (2016, fifth round) went without a point Friday as Prince Albert was defeated by Red Deer 6-3. Budik has collected 15 assists in 44 games for a rebuilding Raiders squad that ranks last in the overall league standings.

Prince George standout defenseman Brendan Guhle (2015, second round) missed the week's two games due to an injury. He's currently listed as day to day. At the 40-game mark, Guhle has amassed 12 goals and 12 assists.


OHL

London centerman Cliff Pu (2016, third round) ran his point streak to six games with assists in each of the week's three games as the Knights won twice and lost once. A model of consistency, Pu's 66 points (27+39) in 45 games place him fourth in league scoring.

Austin Osmanski (2016, seventh round) retuned from suspension Thursday and recorded his first fighting major of the season as Mississauga defeated Niagara 6-4. Osmanski, who went without a point in Friday's 4-0 blanking of North Bay, has six points (1+5) and 50 shots on goal in 39 appearances with the Steelheads. 


QMJHL

Vasily Glotov (2016, seventh round) notched one assist Friday as Cape Breton was dealt a 6-4 loss to Acadie-Bathurst. Glotov, who logged a minus-2 rating in Saturday's 7-0 loss to Saint John, has racked 11 goals and 41 points in 48 games.


Sweden

Rasmus Asplund (2016, second round) was unable to play last week due to injury. The talented two-way centerman has collected 15 points (3+12) in 29 games with Farjestad BK while averaging 16:53 of work per game.

Frolunda HC sniper Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) recorded three shots on goal Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Vaxjo Lakers HC, and did not suit up in Sunday's 3-2 loss to Farjestad.

Through 40 games, Olofsson has nine goals, including six with the man advantage, and 21 total points.

Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) was unable produce any points last week as Djurdardens IF lost all three of their games. After missing the first four months of the season due to ankle surgery, Possler has recorded two goals and three points in his first 10 games.

In second division action, goaltender Jonas Johansson (2014, third round) stopped 24 of 25 shots Wednesday as Almtuna IS defeated Vasterviks IK 5-1. Johansson returned to the crease Friday, allowing five goals on 30 shots in a 5-1 loss to Mora IK. Johansson has picked up 13 victories this season en route to accumulating a 2.20 GAA and a .913 save percentage.


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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