Gifts have been exchanged. A big meal consumed. With the holiday layoff complete, a group of Buffalo Sabres prospects returned to work over the weekend with eyes set on a strong second half.
Justin Bailey (2013, second round) scored twice Sunday to give him back-to-back 20-goal seasons as Kitchener dropped a 6-3 decision to visiting Erie. The Williamsville native put the Rangers on the board at 8:27 of the opening frame when he picked off a clearing pass and patiently waited to pull the trigger for the power play marker. He’d later add his 20thof the season with a bank shot off Otters defenseman Troy Donnay (NYR) late in period two. Bailey has been the wire-to-wire offensive leader for the Rangers with 38 points in 32 games.
Nicholas Baptiste (2013, third round) picked up some second-half momentum, breaking into the zone and holding off a defender to score an unassisted goal and adding a pair of assists in Erie’s Sunday triumph at Kitchener. The three-point effort, Baptiste’s first since joining the Otters a month ago, elevates his totals to 10 goals and 11 assists in 22 combined games with Erie and Sudbury.
Brendan Lemieux (2014, second round) went without a point Sunday for the second straight game as Barrie blanked Guelph 3-0. Lemieux remains among the OHL leaders with 25 goals (3rd), 13 power play makers (t-1st) and 81 PIM (2nd) in 28 games this season. Lemieux has been red-hot in December with 11 goals in seven games.
Eric Cornel (2014, second round) was kept off the scoresheet Sunday as Peterborough was defeated by Oshawa 5-4. Cornel has 28 points (8+20) in 32 games this season, but he has gone a bit dry with just one goal in his last dozen games.
Third line centerman Jean Dupuy logged his second fighting major of the year as Sault Ste. Marie kicked off the second half with a 5-3 loss to Saginaw. The gritty Dupuy has eight goals, 23 points and a sparkling plus-19 rating for the Midwest Division leaders.
In Sunday action, Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) recorded one assist as Gatineau lost to Drummondville 4-2. Karabacek finished November with goals in four straight games, but has yet to score in five December contests. The 18-year-old Czech winger has collected 24 points (10+14) in 30 games for the last-place Olympiques.
Brycen Martin (2014, third round) picked up an assist Saturday as Swift Current got past Regina 5-3. In Sunday’s rematch, Martin logged a minus-one rating as the Broncos were smoked by the Pats 6-1. The steady defender has 16 points (2+14) in 36 contests this season, including two goals and three assists in seven December tilts.
Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) stopped 18 of 20 shots as Notre Dame opened the 2014 Florida College Hockey Classic with a 3-2 overtime victory over No. 6 Miami. The freshman netminder, who entered the contest coming off a 14-save shutout of Massachusetts in his last start before the break, has a 5-5-1 record with a 2.58 GAA, .910 save% and two shutouts through his first 11 collegiate starts.
Connor Hurley (2013, second round) assisted on the game-winning goal in overtime in Notre Dame’s win over Miami. Hurley has three goals and nine points in 18 contests for the Irish, who move on to face Lake Superior State in Monday’s championship game.
Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) recorded two shots on goal and received a five-minute major for boarding Sunday as Providence got past Massachusetts 4-1 at the Catamount Cup in Burlington, VT. The two-way defender has four assists and a plus-four rating in 16 appearances. The Friars conclude the tournament Monday evening versus host Vermont.
Defenseman Mark Adams (2009, fifth round) missed his first game of the season Sunday as Providence defeated Massachusetts. The fifth-year year senior has played the right side on the Friars’ third defensive pair alongside freshman Jake Walman (STL), registering one assist in 16 appearances.
Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) did not play as No. 4 Harvard earned a 4-0 exhibition victory over the Russian Red Stars. Malone is expected to return to the lineup when the Crimson resumes the conference schedule Tuesday versus RPI.
Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round) was held without a point or a shot for the second straight contest Friday as Green Bay returned from the break with a 2-0 loss to Madison. Brown has been a key player all year long for the Gamblers, leading the team with 10 goals and 21 points while playing big minutes in all situations.
Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) notched one assist Friday as MODO returned from the break with a 4-3 loss to the Vaxjo Lakers. On Sunday, Possler was unable to score on his team-high six shots on goal in MODO’s 4-3 shootout loss to Leksands IF. At the 30-game mark, the scoring line winger has eight goals, 15 points and 75 shots on goal for the SHL’s last-place club.
Goaltender Linus Ullmark (2012, sixth round) served as the backup to Adam Reideborn for both of MODO’s games last week. It has been an up-and-down year for the big backstop resulting in a 7-12 record, 3.36 GAA, .902 save% and one shutout.
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.