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Sharpen Up: September 9, 2019

Here's what you need to know on the final day of the Prospects Challenge

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Camp opens Thursday, but before that, we have one more game to play in the Prospects Challenge. Today at 12:30 p.m., the Sabres and Penguins will square off at Harborcenter. 

Dan Dunleavy and Brian Duff will have the call on and on the team's official 

Buffalo can claim first place in the round robin challenge with a win. They're currently 2-0 after victories over New Jersey and Boston over the weekend.

Here's what you need to know.


Today's matchup

The Bruins and Devils are playing now. 

Here are some names to watch for the Penguins:

Calen Addison, D (2nd Round, 2018)
Sam Poulin, F (1st Round, 2019)
Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D (1st Round 1, 2017)
Nathan Legare, F (3rd Round, 2019)

Addison made his pro debut with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2018-19 following a strong season with Lethbridge. He ranked sixth among WHL defensemen with 65 points (11+54), posting identical numbers to his 2017-18 campaign. The 19-year-old was rewarded with an entry-level contract in April. 

Click here for their full roster.

From the weekend

Video: Prospects Challenge: BUF vs. BOS Highlights

Buffalo beat Boston 4-3 on Saturday thanks in part to the strong efforts of Matej Pekar.

From the Game Recap… 

Matej Pekar seemed to blush as he attempted to concoct an answer that was safe for the cameras. 

The question: What is it that you do that gets people so angry at you? 

"I don't know," Pekar said, grinning from ear to ear. "I'm cute?" 

Video: POSTGAME: Pekar

Video: POSTGAME: Taylor 

One night after he brought the Harborcenter crowd to its feet with a third-period fight against the New Jersey Devils, Pekar once again proved to be a thorn in opposing players' sides against the Boston Bruins on Saturday. This time he mixed in some offense, tallying a pair of goals in the Sabres' 4-3 victory. 

Rasmus Asplund and Victor Olofsson also tallied goals, while Jonas Johansson made 35 saves.

For those unfamiliar with the story of Pekar, he was a fourth-round draft pick by the Sabres last summer who stood out at development camp for his relentless quest to antagonize the team's top players in Casey Mittelstadt and Rasmus Dahlin.  

He showed his offensive capabilities that week as well, then continued to produce with 36 points in his first 33 OHL games with Barrie. His season came to an end in January due to a broken collarbone, and he waited more than seven months before returning to game action against the Devils on Friday. 

Video: POSTGAME: Olofsson

Video: POSTGAME: Olson

If there was any pent-up aggression, he let it out against New Jersey. He scrapped and jawed after whistles until he finally dropped the gloves with 6-foot-3 defenseman Michael Vukojevic in the third period, a fight he won decidedly. It garnered the loudest crowd reaction of a victory in which the Sabres scored six goals. 

Despite the fan approval, Pekar was disappointed with his performance. He spent Friday night clearing his head and mapped out a plan with linemate Lukas Rousek to communicate more and win every battle possible, which he felt they accomplished against the Bruins. 

"I have to say I enjoyed the game a lot," Pekar said. "My teammates helped me a lot. They were great. My linemates were going, they were winning every single battle. Every single guy was buzzing today. It was great today."

Check out the full recap here.


Camp opens Thursday

Here's the schedule for the first few days of camp at KeyBank Center. All practice times subject to change.

Thursday, Sept. 12
Players report for testing and physicals

Friday, Sept. 13
Gold Group: 10 to 11:15 a.m.
Blue Group: 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 14
Blue Group: 10 to 11:15 a.m.
Gold Group: 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 15 (Open to public)
Gold Group: 10 to 11:15 a.m.
Blue Group: 1 to 2:15 p.m.

The first preseason game will be on Monday against Pittsburgh at Penn State's Pegula Ice Arena. 

Click here for the full camp schedule.

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