With a month left to play in the major junior schedule, several Buffalo Sabres prospects are heating up with their teams jockeying for playoff positions.
Mikhail Grigorenko (2012, first round) hauled in three goals and a plus-five rating Sunday as Quebec skated to a 6-1 victory over Shawinigan. Grigorenko, who also rang up an assist in the victory, has nine goals and 17 points in 12 games since being assigned to the Remparts. Quebec sits in fourth place in the QMJHL standings with 11 dates remaining on the regular season schedule.
Nick Baptiste (2013, third round) recorded his second hat trick of the season Sunday to guide Sudbury to a 5-3 victory at Niagara. The three-goal outburst, his 23rd multiple-point effort of the season, gives the speedy winger 35 goals and 70 points through 53 games. The Ottawa native has been especially hot since Jan. 1, racking up 15 goals and 25 points in his last 17 games. The Sunday victory keeps the Wolves atop the Central Division with 67 points, three ahead of North Bay.
Justin Bailey (2013, second round) recorded an assist Friday as Kitchener coasted to a 5-0 victory over Mississauga. Bailey, who on Saturday stayed behind with a minor injury as the Rangers dropped a 2-1 overtime decision at Plymouth, tops all Rangers’ skaters with 25 goals and 43 points. Kitchener has won five of their last 10 contests, but remains in last place in the Midwest Division.
Nikita Zadorov (2013, first round) scored twice Friday and added an assist to earn the game’s number one star as London downed Sarnia 9-5. The big defender, whose first three-point effort of the season gives him nine goals and 21 points through 24 games, rounded out his work with a fighting major at the final buzzer. The Knights have won nine of their 10 games to maintain third place in the Midwest Division.
Brady Austin (2012, seventh round) picked up two assists Thursday and another Friday to extend his season-high point streak to five games. Austin has eight goals and 27 points this season while amassing a sparkling plus-41 rating that is fourth in the league.
On Saturday, Eric Locke (2013, seventh round) recorded an assist as Saginaw lost to Guelph 6-4. The Spirit captain has been a steady producer all year en route to collecting 46 points (18+28) in 36 games. Saginaw is currently third in the West Division race with 57 points.
Justin Kea (2012, third round) remains out of action with a hand injury. The power forward prospect has appeared in 47 games for the Spirit, collecting 16 goals, 35 points and 80 penalty minutes.
In Wednesday action, Logan Nelson (2012, fifth round) scored his 19th goal of the year off his own rebound as Victoria earned a 3-2 overtime victory over Tri-City. The 6-foot-1 forward, who saw his five-game goal streak snapped Monday as the Royals edged Vancouver 3-2, enters the stretch run with 12 points in his last nine games for a total of 45 on the year. The Royals have won eight of their last 10 games to surge into the third spot in the Western Conference.
In Friday action, J.T. Compher (2013, second round) scored his 11th goal of the year and added an assist as No. 10 Michigan couldn't complete the comeback in a 5-3 loss to No. 2 Minnesota. The freshman produced five shots on goal Saturday as the Wolverines lost for the second-straight night to the Gophers 4-1. Compher continues to lead the Michigan offense with 26 points (11+15) through 26 games.
Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) picked up an assist to extend his season-high point streak to four games as Harvard played to a 2-2 tie with St. Lawrence. The speedy Malone places third among Crimson skaters with 17 points (5+12) through his first 25 collegiate games.
Jake McCabe (2012, second round) logged a minus-two rating Friday as No. 8 Wisconsin was defeated by Ohio State 2-1. McCabe contributed an assist Saturday as the Badgers earned the B1G split with a 4-2 victory over the Buckeyes. The helper gives the junior defender an even 20 points (7+13) after 28 contests.
Wisconsin forward Brad Navin (2011, seventh round) produced one shot on goal Friday in the Badgers’ loss to Ohio State. The junior forward was a healthy scratch the following night.
Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) finished with a minus-one rating, and was whistled for ahitting after the whistle infraction as No. 9 Providence played to a 2-2 tie with Notre Dame on Friday. The freshman rearguard was scratched on Saturday as the Friars completed the Hockey East set with a 3-0 loss to the Irish.
Senior defenseman Mark Adams (2009, fifth round) returned to action for the first time since Dec. 20 as No. 9 Providence was blanked by Notre Dame 3-0. Adams, who missed the previous 12 games due in part to a lower body injury, finished the night with an even rating.
Christian Isackson (2010, seventh round) did not dress over the weekend as Minnesota swept a pair from Michigan. The third-year forward has appeared in 17 games for the Gophers, capturing one goal and three assists in a limited role.
Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) made 28 saves as Waterloo dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to Sioux City. Petersen, who has now lost three consecutive starts after suffering just three defeats in his first 26 appearances, tops the league with 23 wins while carrying a 2.32 GAA (4th) and .920 save% (3rd).
Connor Hurley (2013, second round) notched an assist Sunday as Green Bay lost at Sioux Falls 5-3. The helpers gives Hurley 33 points at the 40-game mark of his rookie season, including 19 points (7+12) in 19 games since being dealt to the Gamblers at the holiday break.
Cedar Rapids forward Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) sat out of the week’s two games as the RoughRiders earned a pair of victories over Waterloo and Dubuque. The St. Cloud State commit remains the team’s leading scorer with 15 goals at the 40-game mark.
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.