April 15 marks the end of tax season in the United States, but in Finland, it’s the beginning of the SM-Liiga final round. Joel Armia (2011, first round) and his Assat Pori teammates will get a shot at the league title by virtue of last week’s series-clinching victory over defending champion JYP Jyvaskyla. The Aces triumph sets up a best-of-seven series with Tappara Tampere to determine a winner.
Armia, who fired five shots in 17:26 of work as Assat advanced with a 1-0 shutout victory, has produced three goals and six assists through 10 playoff games. The Aces are shooting for their third league championship and first since 1978.
Mikhail Grigorenko (2012, first round) scored a goal Friday but saw his 2012-13 junior campaign come to a close as Quebec was shellacked by Rouyn-Noranda 6-1 in Game Five of the second round series. The talented centerman finishes the playoffs with five goals and 14 points in 11 outings. Former Remparts forward Nikita Kucherov (TB), who was dealt to the Huskies prior to the trade deadline, came back to haunt his old club with a hat trick and three assists to deliver the knockout blow.
Alex Lepkowski scored his first goal in nearly a year Tuesday as Barrie doubled Oshawa 4-2 to earn the second round playoff sweep of the Generals. Lepkowski, who went through 60 regular season appearances without a goal, hadn't scored since last April in a 2012 playoff tilt versus Ottawa. The victory gives the Colts a berth in Eastern Conference final for the first time since 2010, when a Colts team featuring defenseman Nick Crawford (2008, sixth round) defeated Mississauga-St. Michael’s before getting swept by Windsor in the league championship.
Brady Austin (2011, seventh round) picked up an assist Thursday as Belleville closed out the semifinal round with a 5-0 victory over Sudbury. Austin's steady blueline play had seen him rack up five helpers and a plus-12 rating through 10 playoff tilts. The Bulls swept the series in four games, setting up an OHL Eastern Conference championship series with Lepkowski and the Colts starting on Friday.
Dan Catenacci (2011, third round) saw his junior season come to an end Sunday as Owen Sound was bested by Plymouth 3-1 in Game Six of the OHL Western Conference semifinal. The Attack's leading scorer in the regular season, Catenacci garnered a goal and two assists in the semifinal round defeat for a total of nine points (3+6) and 28 penalty minutes in 12 playoff tilts.
Judd Peterson raced down and scored a shorthanded goal Friday to help Cedar Rapids to a 2-1 victory over Team USA. The second-period tally gives the rookie 11 goals and 26 points in 44 games. It has yet to be determined whether Peterson will return to Cedar Rapids next fall or enter the NCAA ranks with St. Cloud State.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s web site - 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.