Playoff action kicked into gear last week for the Buffalo Sabres’ junior prospects, while a group of collegians played a role in getting their team’s ticket stamped for a date in the 2014 NCAA Tournament that gets underway on several fronts later this week.
Nikita Zadorov (2013, first round) scored a pair of goals and added two assists Saturday as London defeated Windsor 6-3 to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round series. The four-point night, the first of Zadorov's OHL career, earned him the game's number one star. Zadorov, who on Friday opened the series with a plus-one rating as the Knights hammered the Spitfires 6-1, posted two goals and six points in 20 playoff games a season ago.
London defenseman Brady Austin (2012, seventh round) produced an assist and a cumulative plus-three rating over the weekend for the Knights, who’ll look to gain a three-game edge when the series continues Tuesday in Windsor.
Eric Locke (2013, seventh round) posted a three-point night Friday, scoring a goal and two assists as Saginaw opened the 2014 playoffs with a 4-3 loss at Erie. Locke, who registered another helper on Saturday in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2, connected for his second goal of the series Monday as the Spirit claimed a 7-6 overtime victory over the Otters.
Saginaw centerman Justin Kea (2012, third round) was kept off the score sheet through the first three tilts while playing well at both ends of the ice. The Spirit trail the Otters 2-1 in their first round series with the teams resuming action Wednesday in Saginaw.
Nicholas Baptiste (2013, third round) went without a point over the weekend as the Sudbury Wolves dropped the first two games of their first-round series with Barrie. The Wolves will look to get back on track when the series heads to Sudbury for Tuesday and Thursday tilts.
William Carrier (2013, second round) scored his first goal of the postseason Friday as Drummondville. On Saturday, Carrier picked up two assists as Drummondville evened their first-round tilt at one game apiece with a 6-5 victory over Victoriaville. The teams will reconvene Tuesday in Victoriaville.
Mikhail Grigorenko (2012, first round) recorded three assists as Quebec downed Rouyn-Noranda 7-3 to even the series at one game each. Grigorenko's playmaking effort adds a fifth three-point game to his three-year postseason resume. The series shifts to Rouyn-Noranda for Tuesday's Game 3.
Logan Nelson (2012, fifth round) was a late scratch Saturday as Victoria kicked off the playoffs Friday with a 2-1 overtime win over Spokane. The Minnesota native returned to the lineup Sunday for Game 2, batting in a rebound to net the game-winning goal in overtime as the Royals earned a 4-3 decision. Game three is Wednesday in Spokane.
On Saturday, Jake McCabe (2012, second round) scored a power-play goal and added an assist as Wisconsin won the first-ever Big Ten Tournament Championship with a 5-4 overtime victory over Ohio State. McCabe, who had one shot on goal in the Badgers’ quarterfinal win over Michigan State on Thursday, leads all Wisconsin defenders with eight goals and 25 points. The No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, Wisconsin opens the 2014 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament Friday versus North Dakota (8 p.m. ET, ESPNU).
Wisconsin winger Brad Navin (2011, seventh round) produced two shots on goal in the conference tournament victories. The third-year man has one goal in his last 10 outings for the Badgers heading into the Friday’s tilt versus their old WCHA rival.
Hudson Fasching (2013, fourth round) contributed three shots on goal as No. 1 Minnesota lost to Ohio State 3-1 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal. Fasching has one point in his last six games for the Gophers, who despite the loss were still able to earn the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament. Minnesota will face Atlantic Hockey champion Robert Morris on Saturday (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) logged a minus-one rating and one shot on goal as No. 9 Providence fell to New Hampshire 3-1 in the semifinal of the Hockey East Tournament at TD Garden in Boston. The Friars earned the No. 3 seed in the East Region, setting the stage for a first round contest with Quinnipiac on Friday (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU).
J.T. Compher (2013, second round) saw his season come to a close Thursday as Michigan was upset 2-1 in double overtime by Penn State in a Big Ten quarterfinal. Compher, who recorded three shots on goal in the loss, finishes his impressive freshman campaign as the Wolverines’ leading producer with 31 points (11+20) in 35 games.
READ: Sabres.com's Chris Ryndak profiles J.T. Compher - "SUDDEN IMPACT"
Connor Hurley (2013, second round) notched an assist Saturday as Green Bay snapped a four-game skid with a 5-2 triumph at Tri-City. The Gamblers are tied with Muskegon for the fourth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot with five games left in the regular season.
Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) came away empty in a weekend set with Fargo, making 26 saves in a 2-1 loss on Friday, and stopping 23 of 26 shots in a 4-2 defeat on Saturday. Petersen remains tied for the league lead with 25 victories despite winning just two of his last 10 starts. The Black Hawks enter the final week of March holding the top spot in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Omaha with five games left.
Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) skated without a point as Cedar Rapids got past Dubuque 3-1. Peterson has two shots on goal in three games since missing five weeks with an injury. The Roughriders have already clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot, with the final four games determining whether they’ll be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs.
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.