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by Kris Baker / Buffalo Sabres

With the holiday break right around the corner, a handful of Buffalo Sabres prospects were busy doing last minute statistical shopping, before enjoying some home cooking and mental rest in preparation for the second half of the season.

Kitchener forward Justin Bailey (2013, second round) scored his 12th goal of the year Friday as the Rangers dropped a 5-4 decision to Sault Ste. Marie. The seeing-eye marker sends Bailey to the break with goals in three of his last four games, and a total of 23 points through 34 season appearances. Kitchener gets back to work Saturday versus Erie.

Also from Friday, Justin Kea (2012, third round) recorded one assist as Saginaw was blown out by Windsor 11-6. The helper gives the grinding forward points in four of his last five contests for a total of 31 (13+18) on the year. The Spirit will get a chance to avenge the lopsided loss when the two clubs resume the schedule on Dec. 28.

Brady Austin (2012, seventh round) logged a plus-one rating as London was defeated by Niagara 6-5. The towering defender has collected points and a plus-19 rating for the Knights. London is off until Dec. 29 when they visit Plymouth.

Mark Adams
(2009, fifth round) was inserted into the lineup for the fifth time this season as No. 5 Providence snatched a 4-1 non-conference victory at Army. Adams has one goal and a plus-four rating in limited duty on the Friars blueline.

Freshman defender Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) was given the night off for Providence in the win over Army. Florentino has amassed three goals and eight points this season while leading all Friars defenders with a plus-15 rating. Providence takes on host Dartmouth on Sunday, Dec. 29 in the first round of the Ledyard Bank Classic.

Also of note, University of Michigan freshman J.T. Compher (2013, second round) is expected to miss a month of action after injuring his foot at the U.S. National Junior Team selection camp. Compher blocked a shot during Monday’s practice session, and was unable to skate the following day. He was left behind when Team USA departed for Europe on Wednesday. Compher is currently Michigan’s co-leader in points with 14 (5+9) through as many games.

European Hockey Tour – Channel One Cup
In Thursday action, MODO goaltender Linus Ullmark (2012, sixth round) made 20 saves as Sweden was defeated by Russia 3-2 at the Channel One Cup. The game was deadlocked at two goals apiece until Los Angeles Kings prospect Nikolai Prokhorkin beat Ullmark with 2:11 left in regulation. Ullmark, who served as backup as Sweden went on to lose their remaining games to the Czech Republic and Finland, will look to continue his stellar play when MODO’s SHL schedule resumes Thursday versus Brynäs IF.

When MODO returns to action, they’ll be doing it without co-leading scorer Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round). The Swedish gunner has been shut down for the year after learning that the knee injury sustained in early November will require surgery. Possler was in attendance with Sweden’s U20 national team at the time of his latest setback.

On Friday, the Muskegon Lumberjacks announced a trade that sent Connor Hurley (2013, second round) to the Green Bay Gamblers along with a phase one fourth-round draft pick in exchange for defenseman Christian Wolanin, affiliate defenseman Joseph Cecconi and a package of draft picks. Cecconi is currently playing for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U team.

Hurley will get a fresh start with the Gamblers, who are currently led by North Dakota commit Nick Schmaltz. Hurley and Schmaltz previously dominated the at the World Junior A Championship in November, combining for 22 points in four games to lead Team USA to a gold medal.

In 21 games with the Lumberjacks, Hurley had scored 14 points (3+11). He went 14 games without a goal prior to the trade. The Notre Dame commit will make his Gamblers debut on this versus Dubuque.

For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s web site - 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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