While the top Under-20 American hockey players were in Lake Placid, NY this summer for the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp, Justin Bailey (2013, second round) was back in Buffalo working out with NHL players like Zemgus Girgensons in hopes of becoming a quicker, stronger forward.
Remaining in Buffalo was not by choice, though. Despite a 25-goal season that saw him earn the Kitchener Rangers’ 2013-14 MVP award, and regardless of his attendance at the previous year’s event, Bailey was surprisingly left off the roster of hopefuls for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. With extra motivation provided, it’s safe to say that the offseason work is paying early dividends for the native of Williamsville, NY.
Bailey recorded the second hat trick of his Ontario Hockey League career Saturday and added a shootout marker as Kitchener lost at Erie 5-4. Since returning from his second NHL training camp, the 19-year old has collected team highs of six goals and 10 points while ripping off the first five-game point streak of his OHL career. He has also converted both of his shootout attempts.
The season is still very young, but maintaining the productive pace could land Bailey back on the radar come December when Team USA builds their selection camp list.
In NCAA action, World Junior alum Hudson Fasching got his sophomore campaign off to a favorable start with goals in back-to-back games as No. 1 Minnesota captured their second straight Ice Breaker Tournament title. On Friday, the big winger redirected a shot for the game winning goal and added an assist as the Gophers downed Minnesota-Duluth 4-3. Fasching’s continued net presence was rewarded in Sunday’s championship tilt when he deflected home his second of the season as Minnesota blanked RPI 3-0.
Eric Cornel (2014, second round) had a solid statistical week, notching his first three goals of the year as Peterborough’s winless skid hit four games. Cornel scored twice Thursday as the Petes were defeated by Windsor 5-4 in overtime. He saw his three-game point streak snapped in an 8-4 loss at Plymouth on Saturday, but resumed production the following day with a goal in a 6-3 defeat at Saginaw.
Brendan Lemieux (2014, second round) grabbed a goal and an assist Saturday as Barrie defeated Sudbury 6-4. Lemieux worked hard to advance a puck out of his zone for a first-period helper before cashing a feed from the doorstep a few shifts later. The rugged winger has amassed seven points (4+3) and 13 PIM through the first six games of the year.
After posting a team-high five shots on goal in a midweek loss to Moncton, Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) recorded one assist Saturday as Gatineau dropped a 5-2 decision at Baie-Comeau. The Czech winger, who was kept off the score sheet in Sunday’s 5-2 triumph at Chicoutimi, has three goals and five assists in nine games since being returned from Buffalo.
Brycen Martin (2014, third round) registered one assist last week as Swift Current earned victories in two of three games . At the 10-game mark, the all-situations defender has gathered four points (0+4) and a plus-one rating for the second-place Broncos.
In a Tuesday exhibition, J.T. Compher (2013, second round) rang up one goal and one assist as No. 9 Michigan defeated the Team USA Under-18 team 7-4. Compher's goal came in the final minute of the opening period when he corralled a faceoff win and quickly fired the puck past Luke Opilka to give the Wolverines a 3-1 lead. Michigan returns to work this weekend with a set against New Hampshire as part of the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge.
Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) came away with two points as No. 4 Providence split a pair of overtime decisions at Ohio State. The sophomore defender earned an assist in the 4-3 loss to the Buckeyes on Friday. Florentino picked up another even-strength helper Saturday as the Friars battled to a 2-1 victory.
Providence defenseman Mark Adams (2009, fifth round) finished with one shot on goal and an even rating in the road split. The Friars will next host Team USA U-18 for a recruiting exhibition on Thursday.
Freshman goaltender Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) made his NCAA debut Sunday, stopping 26 of 29 shots as No. 13 Notre Dame was blanked 3-0 by Minnesota-Duluth in the third-place game of the 2014 Ice Breaker Tournament. Petersen served as backup on Friday as the Irish were defeated 3-2 by RPI.
Connor Hurley (2013, second round) also made his first collegiate appearance Sunday, centering Notre Dame’s third line in the loss to Minnesota-Duluth. The 6-foot-2 freshman compiled 13 goals and 50 points last season in the USHL with Muskegon and Green Bay. The Irish host Lake Superior State next weekend for a pair of nationally televised contests on the NBC Sports Network.
Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) opened his freshman campaign with fourth line duty as No. 6 St. Cloud State split a pair of 3-1 decisions with visiting No. 5 Colgate. The Huskies will take a week off before visiting Union for key non-conference set beginning Oct. 24.
Senior captain Brad Navin (2011, seventh round) produced eight shots on goal over the weekend as No. 12 Wisconsin lost both of their games at the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage, Alaska. The Badgers, who were defeated by scores of 1-0 to Alaska and 4-2 to Alaska-Anchorage, return to their proper time zone this weekend to host Northern Michigan in Green Bay.
Christian Isackson (2010, seventh round) logged an even rating through Minnesota’s two Ice Breaker victories. The senior centerman has been slotted into a fourth-line role for the top-ranked Gophers. Minnesota is back in action Friday, Oct. 24 against Bemidji State.
Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round) picked up an assist Saturday as Green Bay got past Madison 5-4 in overtime. The Boston College commit has four points (2+2) in his first four games with the Gamblers, who next travel to Tri-City for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday against the Storm.
Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) scored his fourth goal of the season Saturday as MODO’s slide hit four games with a 4-1 loss to Luleå HF. Following an assist on Thursday, Olofsson enters the week with the second two-game point streak of his brief SHL career. He'll likely miss some time playing for Team Sweden at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, but he's currently on pace for a 20-goal campaign.
Top line winger Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) went without a point for the fourth straight contest in the loss to Luleå HF. His longest point drought a season ago lasted just two games. Through the season’s first 10 outings, the 20-year old has recorded four points (1+3) and a team-high 33 shots on goal.
On Thursday, Linus Ullmark (2012, sixth round) was pulled early in the second period after allowing three goals on seven shots in MODO’s 4-3 loss to Djurgårdens IF. The reigning Honken Trophy winner has posted a 1-4 record, 4.53 GAA, and .847 save% through his first six starts. Winless in four October outings, MODO looks to snap out of their funk Wednesday versus Linköping HC.
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.