|Gustav Possler (Getty Images)
It’s been a tough start to the year for storied Swedish Hockey League franchise MODO, as the factory that produced NHL stars Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, and Daniel and Henrik Sedin has earned just seven wins in their first 23 contests to place 11th in the 12-team league. As the club looks to reverse its fortunes, the Sabres’ trio of prospects developing with MODO did their part with a solid week of work.
Goaltender Linus Ullmark (2012, sixth round) made a combined 144 stops last week, headlined by a 50-save shutout on Thursday in MODO’s 2-0 triumph over Linkoping HC. Ullmark, who began the week with 46 saves in a 5-3 loss to the Vaxjo Lakers on Tuesday, ended strong by stopping 48 of 51 shots in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Skelleftea AIK. The 21-year-old backstop has gotten past a shaky individual start to post a 6-9 record, 3.61 GAA and .899 save% entering the final week of November.
Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) had a quiet Tuesday, but bounced back with goals in his next two games to continue his surprising season start. Olofsson stepped into a power play slap shot for the game-winning goal in Thursday’s shutout of Linkoping HC. He’d connect again on Saturday with a penalty shot marker placed just inside the left post in MODO’s loss to Skelleftea AIK. The late-round gem ranks second in team scoring with eight goals and 14 points while averaging just 10:18 of work per night.
Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) knocked a puck out of mid-air and streaked in for a goal on Tuesday in MODO’s loss to the Vaxjo Lakers. The hard-working winger battled for slot position and got his stick on the ice for a crisp redirection to make it goals in three straight games in Thursday’s victory. Possler’s goal streak was snapped on Saturday, leaving him with 11 points (6+5) through 21 games.
Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) scored back-to-back game-winning goals last week as Gatineau overtook Blainville-Boisbriand for first place in the West Division standings. On Friday, Karabacek filled the center lane for a nice finish with 3:44 left in regulation to thrust the Olympiques to a 2-1 victory over the Armada. The skilled Czech kept it going on Saturday with an even-strength marker plus a helper as Gatineau cruised past Acadie-Bathurst 4-1. Karabacek has goals in two straight games for the first time this season, and a total of four in his last six.
Sam Reinhart (2014, first round) closed the week with two helpers Sunday to extend his point streak to eight games since returning from Buffalo as Kootenay bested Moose Jaw 7-3. The playmaking pivot had three points (1+2) in Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to Medicine Hat. He’d add two more assists Friday in a win over Lethbridge, and then another helper Saturday as the ICE defeated Medicine Hat. Reinhart has collected 18 points for the ICE, who have now gone 7-1 since getting their captain back.
Brycen Martin (2014, third round) added two assists to his season total last week as Swift Current skated to two victories and one defeat. The all-situations defender has an even 10 points (0+10) in his first 25 games for the Broncos.
Brendan Lemieux (2013, second round) bagged a pair of power-play goals Saturday to earn the game’s number two star as Barrie was defeated 4-3 by Peterborough. It was his second two-goal performance of the season. Lemieux, who recorded one assist in Sunday’s 3-0 triumph at Belleville, has amassed 20 points (12+8) in 18 games, including five goals in his last six outings. Eight of his 12 goals have come with the man advantage.
Nick Baptiste (2013, third round) produced one assist last week as Sudbury dropped 3-0 and 2-1 decisions to Central Division rival North Bay. The helper gives Baptiste 11 points (6+5) in his first dozen games for the last-place Wolves.
Justin Bailey (2013, second round) was held pointless in back-to-back games for the first time this season as Kitchener edged Windsor 2-1 on Friday, and was blanked by Guelph 3-0 on Sunday. Bailey has gone without a point in just four of the Rangers’ first 21 games. He continues to pace the Kitchener attack with 14 goals and 29 points.
Peterborough forward Eric Cornel (2014, second round) picked up one assist in a 7-3 loss to Sault Ste. Marie on Thursday, and then sniped the game-winning goal plus an assist to earn the game’s third star on Saturday in the Petes’ 4-3 win over Barrie. Cornel saw his second three-game point streak of the season snapped in Sunday’s 5-1 loss at Mississauga. Cornel has 21 points (7+14) in as many games for the Petes, who sit in last place in the East Division standings.
J.T. Compher (2013, second round) recorded his first two goals of the season and added an assist as Michigan earned the split in the Big Ten series with an 8-1 thrashing of Penn State. Compher, who went without a goal in his previous 10 games including Friday’s loss to the Nittany Lions, now has nine points (2+7) entering this weekend's home set with RPI.
Hudson Fasching was unable to produce on Friday as No. 4 Minnesota dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to Team USA Under-18. Auston Matthews, a highly-rated prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft, tallied three points (2+1) including the overtime winner for Team USA. Fasching will look to add to his seven points (5+2) when the Gophers visit No. 12 Boston College on Friday.
Minnesota forward Christian Isackson (2010, seventh round) earned an assist in the exhibition loss to Team USA Under-18. The senior has yet to produce a point through 10 regular season contests.
Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) did not play Saturday due to an undisclosed injury as Providence earned a 1-0 shutout victory at New Hampshire. The Friday opener between the two clubs was cancelled due to an ice issue with New Hampshire’s arena, and has been rescheduled for Tuesday, January 13.
Providence senior Mark Adams (2009, fifth round) finished with an even rating in Saturday’s game on his usual defensive pairing with freshman Jake Walman (STL). The Friars are back in action Tuesday versus Army.
Connor Hurley (2013, second round) finished with one shot on goal and a plus-one rating Thursday as unranked Notre Dame lost to No. 5 UMass Lowell 3-1. Hurley was kept off the scoresheet the following night as the Fighting Irish skated to a 2-2 tie with the River Hawks. Through 13 games, the first-year centerman has compiled two goals and six points while earning time in the power play rotation.
Notre Dame freshman netminder Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) did not play in the series versus UMass Lowell, serving as Chad Katunar’s backup for both games. Petersen has received eight starts to date, posting a 3-4-1 record with a 2.70 GAA and .916 save%. Next up for Notre Dame is the opening game of the Shillelagh Tournament on Friday versus Union.
Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) remained out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury as Harvard earned victories over Dartmouth and Bentley. The Crimson next square off with top 2015 draft prospect Jack Eichel and the No. 2 Boston University Terriers on Tuesday.
Max Willman (2014, fifth round) was blanked as Brown's woes continued with a 4-3 overtime loss at Colgate, and a 4-0 defeat at Cornell. Willman has two points (1+1) and 14 shots on goal in seven games for the Bears, who will look to snap a six-game skid next Saturday when they host Connecticut.
Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) contributed one shot on goal Friday as No. 15 St. Cloud State got past No. 3 North Dakota 3-1. The freshman center did not factor into the scoring on Saturday as the Huskies were clipped 3-2 by North Dakota. Peterson has collected two assists in his first 12 collegiate contests. St. Cloud State continues their schedule this weekend with a road set at Bemidji State.
Brad Navin (2011, seventh round) posted two shots on goal Friday as Wisconsin dropped a 5-3 decision at Colorado College. The senior co-captain, who has just one goal this season, was shutdown again on Saturday as the Badgers extended their season-opening losing streak to eight games with a 3-2 loss at No. 11 Denver. Wisconsin welcomes Ferris State to the Kohl Center this weekend for a non-conference set.
In Friday action, Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round) connected for a pair of assists as Green Bay lost at Madison 5-4 in overtime. The two-assist effort was Brown's second multi-point game of the year and first since his Oct. 10. Brown, who added another helper in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Capitols, has notched a point in seven of his last eight games en route to collecting a team-leading total of 13 (5+8) through 16 appearances.
Jonas Johansson (2014, third round) started in net for Brynas IF J20 on Friday, stopping 22 of 28 shots in a 6-1 loss to MODO. Johansson, who also served as backup to Bernard Starkbaum in three SHL contests last week, has logged a 2-3 record with a 3.62 GAA and .881 save% in five appearances for Brynas’ top junior squad.
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.