|Anthony Florentino (Getty Images)
Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) scored the game's first goal Saturday as Providence struck for a pair of late markers to defeat Boston University 4-3 to win their first-ever NCAA Championship.
Florentino gave the Friars the 1-0 lead at 9:25 of the opening frame when a shot rebounded off the post out to the right point. The righthanded rearguard had time and space to step into the blast and he made no mistake, firing the low, hard shot past Boston University goaltender Matt O'Connor for his first goal in 16 games.
A native of West Roxbury, Mass., Florentino finished his sophomore season with three goals, 15 points and a plus-15 rating in 40 games.
The Friars earned the right to play for the title thanks to a 4-1 victory over Omaha on Thursday in the Frozen Four Semifinal. Florentino recorded one assist, three shots on goal and a plus-three rating in the win while providing a physical edge throughout with several hard hits to disrupt the Mavericks' attack.
Fifth-year senior Mark Adams (2009, fifth round) served as the extra defenseman in the Friars’ championship weekend. The 23-year-old posted three points (1+2) and plus-nine rating in 32 appearances.
UPDATE: Florentino joined Sabres Hockey Hotline with Kevin Sylvester and Andrew Peters on Wednesday to talk about what it’s like to be a national champion.
“To be honest, it hasn’t completely sunk in yet,” Florentino said. “It’s kind of surreal just trying to tell yourself that your team and yourself are champions of all of college hockey. It’s an unbelievable feeling, but it hasn’t hit me completely yet.”
He believes that the group really came together after they were knocked out of the Hockey East Quarterfinals by the University of New Hampshire in overtime of the decisive Game 3. Once it was announced that they had made the NCAA tournament, the Friars were able to find another level to their game.
“Everyone’s attitude really changed. The motivation kicked in,” Florentino said. “Everyone bought in completely – not that we weren’t before – but we were just really determined and a lot hungrier because after losing to UNH, it was a terrible feeling.
“After that, everyone just put their mind to it even more. We didn’t expect anything less and we expected a lot from each other. We really pushed each other.”
Listen to the full interview for his thoughts on playing against Boston University’s Jack Eichel and why he thinks the Hobey Baker winner is the best player he’s ever faced.
Florentino also said he plans on being back in Buffalo for the Sabres’ Development Camp this summer.
Justin Bailey (2013, second round) scored his fourth goal of the playoffs Wednesday as Sault Ste. Marie opened the OHL Western Conference Semifinal with a 7-4 victory over Guelph. Bailey gave the Hounds a 4-1 lead in the first minute of the third period when he gained position at the side of the net and tipped an Anthony DeAngelo shot from the left point for the power-play marker.
Bailey kept pace Thursday, connecting for a goal and two assists as Sault Ste. Marie hammered the Storm 9-3. Bailey posted his second straight one-goal, two-assist outing Sunday to earn the game's second star as Sault Ste. Marie cruised past Guelph 6-1. The Williamsville-native has six goals and 10 points through his first seven playoff games.
Two-way forward Jean Dupuy returned to the Sault Ste. Marie lineup Wednesday after missing the entire first round with an upper body injury. The Greyhounds’ 7-4 win was a physical affair from start-to-finish, and Dupuy made his presence felt midway through the second period when he dropped the gloves with Storm defender Kyle Rhodes.
Dupuy scored a pair of goals including the game-winner as Sault Ste. Marie stomped Guelph 9-3 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal. Dupuy continued to center a line with Bailey and 2015 draft prospect Blake Speers, but was unable to produce a point in Sunday’s victory.
With a commanding 3-0 lead in second round series, the Greyhounds will go for the sweep Tuesday in Guelph.
UPDATE: Sault. Ste Marie swept Guelph in four games. Bailey assisted on Nick Ritchie’s game-winning goal on Tuesday as the Greyhounds won 3-2. Bailey now has 11 points (6+5) in 8 games. Dupuy was held pointless, but finished with a plus-1 rating.
In Thursday action, Nicholas Baptiste (2013, third round) cashed a shorthanded marker and added one assist as Erie bested London 5-2. Baptiste's goal, his fourth of the playoffs, tied the game 2-2 at 14:21 of the second period before the Otters turned up the heat with three unanswered goals the rest of the way.
Baptiste, who was shutout on Friday as the Otters cruised to a 7-3 win, got back on the scoresheet Sunday with a pair of assists as Erie earned their third straight victory over the Knights, 4-1. Baptiste has collected eight points (4+4) in eight postseason contests. The Otters have a 3-0 advantage in the best-of-seven semifinal round, with Game 4 set for Tuesday in London.
UPDATE: Erie swept London 4-0. Baptiste had one assist in Erie’s 5-2 series-clinching win.
The Greyhounds and Otters will now face off in the Western Conference Finals. The schedule has yet to be announced.
Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) scored his third goal of the playoffs Friday as Baie-Comeau opened the second round of the QMJHL playoffs with a 3-2 win over Val-d'Or in double overtime. Karabacek, who finished the night with six shots on goal, finished off a rush from the low left-wing circle at 19:20 of the middle frame to give Baie-Comeau a 2-1 lead.
Karabacek contributed three shots on goal Saturday as the Drakkar kept it rolling with a 9-1 shellacking of the Foreurs. Karabacek has nine points (3+6) in seven playoff tilts for the Drakkar, who hold a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series heading into Tuesday's Game 3.
UPDATE: Karabacek recorded an assist in Baie Comeau's 6-3 victory in Game 3.
Sam Reinhart scored his sixth goal of the playoffs Monday as Kootenay was rolled by Calgary 6-2 in Game 7 of their WHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. With the ICE trailing 4-0 late in the second period, Reinhart forced a turnover near the Calgary crease and seconds later tipped a Cale Fleury point shot into the back of the Hitmen net. Reinhart captured nine points (6+3) in the exciting seven-game series.
The loss to the Hitmen marked the end of Reinhart's WHL career. In 250 regular season contests, the playmaking pivot produced 120 goals and a franchise record 319 points. He added another 35 points (13+22) in 36 playoff games.
UPDATE: Reinhart is slated to play in the Rochester Americans' home finale on Friday.
Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round) was blanked Friday as Tri-City was defeated 4-1 at Dubuque. On Saturday, Brown was kept of the scoresheet for the eighth straight game as the Storm closed the regular season with a 5-2 victory at Des Moines. Brown, who ended the year without a goal in his final 21 contests, captured 37 points (13+24) in 58 games. The Storm, who finished in second place in the Western Conference standings, will open a best-of-five playoff series Tuesday versus the Omaha Lancers.
UPDATE: Brown was held pointless Tuesday in Tri-City's 2-1 victory.
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.