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Petersen, Malone advance to Frozen Four

by Kris Baker @SabresProspects /

Two Sabres prospects will get the chance to play for a national title as their teams advanced to the 2017 NCAA Men's Division-I Hockey Frozen Four Championship over the weekend.

Goaltender Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will play in the NCAA Frozen Four for the first time since 2011 after winning the Northeast Regional.

The Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) product stopped 31 shots Saturday as the Irish opened the tournament with a 3-2 victory over Minnesota. Petersen was equally impressive on Sunday, making 27 saves to backstop Notre Dame to a 3-2 win over conference rival UMass-Lowell.

Petersen, who earlier in the week was named one of five finalists for the Mike Richter Award, which is given annually to college hockey's best goaltender, has played every game for the Fighting Irish this season, amassing a record of 23-11-5 with a 2.13 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.

Notre Dame will battle Denver on Thursday, April 6 in the second semifinal tilt.

Joining Petersen at the Frozen Four is Harvard centerman Sean Malone (2013, sixth round), whose Crimson blanked Providence 3-0 before closing out Air Force 3-2 in Saturday's East Regional final. 

Malone, who was unable to capture a point in the victories, heads to Chicago as Harvard's third-leading scorer with 18 goals and 42 points. 

Harvard will meet NCHC powerhouse Minnesota-Duluth on April 6.

While two collegiate prospects will keep playing, two others saw their seasons conclude over the weekend.

Providence defenseman Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) capped his collegiate career Friday with two shots on goal in the loss to Harvard. The senior defender scored nine goals and totaled 16 points in 30 games this season.

Freshman winger Brett Murray (2016, fourth round) remained out of the Penn State lineup as the Nittany Lions blew past Union 10-3 before falling to Denver 6-3 in the Midwest Regional final on Sunday. Murray appeared in 12 games for Penn State, notching one assist and 16 shots on goal.


Brendan Guhle (2015, second round) recorded two assists Sunday as Prince George evened their opening round series against Portland with a 5-1 win. 

Guhle, who on Friday logged a minus-1 rating in a 4-2 loss to the Winterhawks, was very active at both ends of the ice Sunday, stripping pucks from attackers and using his excellent skating ability to activate as a fourth forward on many rushes up ice. The Western Conference series continues Wednesday in Portland.

Brandon Hagel (2016, sixth round) knocked a rebound out of mid-air with 1:57 remaining in regulation Saturday to send Red Deer to a 4-2 triumph of Lethbridge in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series. Hagel's game-winner comes after eight of his 31 regular season markers were of the game-clinching variety.

Tweet from @SabresProspects: WATCH: Red Deer's 30-goal man Brandon Hagel employs hand-eye coordination to slap a rebound out of mid-air for the PP game winner #Sabres

Hagel logged a minus-2 rating the next night as the Rebels fell to the Hurricanes 5-2 in Game 2. 

Lethbridge pivot Giorgio Estephan (2015, suxth round) recorded one secondary assist through the first two games of the Hurricanes' series with Red Deer. After securing 89 points (35+54) in the regular season, Estephan will look to elevate his offense when Game 3 takes place Wednesday evening in Red Deer.

After posting an even rating in Friday's 4-0 series-opening win over Kamloops, defenseman Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) notched a short-handed assist Saturday as Kelowna dropped the Blazers 3-2. Stephens will play his 38th career playoff contest when the series resumes Tuesday in Kamloops.

Tweet from @SabresProspects: Nice play from #21 Devante Stephens last night - nudges puck and then uses his speed to jump into a lane as Dube (CAL) gets the SHG #Sabres


Cliff Pu (2016, third round) was held without a point Friday as London opened the 2017 playoffs with a 4-3 overtime loss to Windsor, and then scored his first goal of the series Sunday as the Knights snagged a pair of empty-net goals to close out a 5-2 victory over Spitfires. 

In 18 games of last year's playoffs, Pu recorded eight goals and 13 points as the Knights marched to the OHL championship. With the series locked at a game apiece, the series now shifts to Windsor for Game 3 and 4 Tuesday and Thursday.

Austin Osmanski (2016, seventh round) recorded instigator and fighting major penalties Friday in Mississauga's 6-2 win over Ottawa, and then produced two shots on goal as the Steelheads were blanked by the 67's 4-0 in Game 2 on Sunday. Game 3 is Tuesday in Ottawa.


Vasily Glotov (2016, seventh round) won nine of his 14 faceoffs Friday as Cape Breton opened the playoffs with a 1-0 overtime victory over Gatineau. Glotov notched a pair of assists Sunday as the Screaming Eagles outlasted the Olympiques 7-6 in overtime to take a two-game lead in the series. The teams now head to Gatineau for Tuesday's Game 3.


Rasmus Asplund (2016, second round) saw his season come to an end last week as Farjestad BK was swept by HV 71 in their best-of-seven SHL quarterfinal series. On Friday, Asplund picked up a secondary assist while skating for 20:05 in his final game of the season. Asplund notched three helpers in five postseason appearances.

Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) played three games last week, logging a combined four shots on goal and a minus-2 rating as Frolunda HC won once and lost twice to fall into a 3-2 series hole against Skelleftea AIK in the SHL quarterfinal round. Olofsson has two assists in five playoff games. Frolunda will look to stave off elimination on Monday.


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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