TRAVERSE CITY, MI --- Marcus Foligno scored twice and Corey Tropp had the game winner as the Buffalo Sabres captured the 2011 NHL Prospect Tournament title with a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers in Wednesday’s championship game. Nathan Lieuwen stopped 21 of 23 Rangers shots to earn the win, leading the Sabres to victory in their first trip to the tournament.
1ST PERIOD: After a slow start that saw just four combined shots in the first eight minutes, Luke Adam gets Buffalo on the board first when he forces a turnover along the wall before burying a shot up high. The Sabres go up by a pair when their top line strikes again just three minutes later. Zack Kassian takes a pass from Adam, and then drops a sweet back pass to a waiting Foligno who one-times it for his second of the tournament at 13:25. The Rangers strike :19 later when Carl Hagelin grabs a loose puck behind the Sabres net and sets up a wide open J.T. Miller in front. Rangers hold a 10-9 edge in shots.
2ND PERIOD: A quiet period offensively with just one goal scored. Midway through the frame, New York’s Ryan Bourque pounces on a Nick Crawford turnover just inside the hashmarks and beats Lieuwen. The Rangers continue to lead in shots 16-15. Corey Tropp and Jason Wilson engage in fisticuffs early in the period following a goalmouth scramble.
3RD PERIOD: Buffalo goes back on top just 1:28 into the period. Matt MacKenzie’s outlet pass finds Jonathan Parker in the neutral zone, and he feeds a streaking Tropp down the right side who finishes the play with what turn out to be the game winner. Dan Catenacci ices the game with five minutes to go following a great play by Shawn Szydlowski in the neutral zone to knock down the puck. Szydlowski feeds Catenacci in the middle, and he undresses Stajcer. Foligno gets his second of the night on a breakaway with 2:13 left in the game. MacKenzie fired the puck out of the Sabres zone and it took a kooky bounce off the stantion before landing right on Foligno’s stick.
NOTES: Buffalo’s scratches were Steven Beyers, Jacob Lagace, Cedrick Henley, Alex Lepkowski and Corey Fienhage … The Sabres were 1-for-7 on the power play, and finished the tournament 3-for-25 (12.0%).