Erie's Nick Baptiste (Photo: Getty Images)
A much anticipated Ontario Hockey League matchup has been set after the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Erie Otters each posted sweeps of their Western Conference semifinal matchups last week. The league’s two highest scoring teams during the regular season, the Greyhounds and Otters will play the first two games of the Western Conference Final in Sault Ste. Marie beginning Thursday.
In Tuesday’s Game 4, Justin Bailey (2013, second round) recorded one assist as Sault Ste. Marie eliminated Guelph with a 3-2 victory. Bailey captured three goals and five assists in the series. He’ll need to keep adding to the 11 points (6+5) piled up in his first eight postseason tilts if the Greyhounds are to come away successful from their first conference final since 2008.
Sault Ste. Marie forward Jean Dupuy logged a plus-one rating in the series clinching win over the Storm, leaving him with two goals and one fighting major in his four playoff appearances. Dupuy centered a line with Bailey for the entire series after missing the first round with an upper body injury.
As the Hounds were punching their ticket, Nick Baptiste (2013, third round) picked up one assist as Erie closed out London 5-2 to advance to their second straight conference final. Baptiste collected one goal and four helpers in the sweep of the Knights, giving him nine points (4+5) in the Otters' nine playoff outings.
Game 1 – Thursday, April 23: Erie at Sault Ste. Marie (7:07 p.m.)
Game 2 – Friday, April 24: Erie at Sault Ste. Marie (7:07 p.m.)
Game 3 – Sunday, April 26: Sault Ste. Marie at Erie (7 p.m.)
Game 4 – Tuesday, April 28: Sault Ste. Marie at Erie (7 p.m.)
Game 5 – Thursday, April 30: Erie at Sault Ste. Marie (7:07 p.m.)*
Game 6 – Saturday, May 2: Sault Ste. Marie at Erie (7 p.m.)*
Game 7 – Monday, May 4: Erie at Sault Ste. Marie (7:07 p.m.)*
(* If necessary)
Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) notched one assist Tuesday as Baie-Comeau doubled Val-d'Or 6-3 in Game 3 of the second-round series. Karabacek, who pumped six shots on goal in Wednesday’s 4-3 double overtime loss, was again unable to connect Friday as the Drakkar were drilled by the Foreurs 5-2. Karabacek has three goals and 10 points in 10 postseason contests. Baie-Comeau, who won the first three games versus Val-d’Or before dropping the next two, will look to put an end to the second round series Monday night in Val-d’Or.
Game 6 – Monday, April 20: Baie-Comeau at Val-d’Or (7:30 p.m.)
Game 7 – Tuesday, April 21: Baie-Comeau at Val-d’Or (7:30 p.m.)*
(* If necessary)
Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round) was blanked Tuesday as Tri-City opened their best-of-five first-round series with a 2-1 win at Omaha. Brown was scratched in Thursday’s 3-2 win, and was unable to contribute in his return to the lineup Saturday as the Storm eliminated the Lancers with a 3-1 victory. Brown has gone without a goal in his last 23 games. The Storm will face either Sioux Falls or Sioux City in the Western Conference Final.
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.