SABRES PROSPECTS REPORT
Joel Armia returns from injury; Andrey Makarov is "Mr. Zero"
Mikhail Grigorenko (2012, first round) continues to steamroll through the QMJHL last week, scoring four goals in three games to up his season haul to a Canadian Hockey League-best 29, before joining Team Russia in preparation for the 2013 World Junior Championship.
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The red-hot Grigorenko, who has struck for 12 goals and a single assist in his last 10 games, capped the week Saturday by scoring the game winner and adding an empty netter to lead the Remparts to a 4-2 triumph at Saint John. The slick centerman departs with an even 50 points through 30 games, while boasting a boatload of momentum as host Russia looks to reclaim the gold medal they last won at the 2011 tourney in Buffalo.
|Andrey Makarov (Saskatoon)|
Saskatoon goaltender Andrey Makarov posted consecutive shutouts over the weekend as the Blades battered Regina in a home-and-home series by scores of 9-0 and 7-0. The back-to-back blankings improve the Russian’s record to 15-13-0-1 with a 2.84 GAA and .908 save%. Makarov has backstopped the Blades to four shutouts this season, including three in his last five starts as a ramp-up to Russia’s World Junior Selection Camp.
Logan Nelson (2012, fifth round) saw his 10-game point streak come to an end Saturday as Victoria edged Swift Current 2-1. The energetic forward maintains his spot as the Royals’ second-leading scorer with six goals and 29 points with just three games left to play before the holiday break.
Colin Jacobs (2011, fourth round) continued to serve his six-game suspension as Prince George embarked on a two-game losing streak. The Cougars’ leading scorer, Jacobs is eligible to return to action this Saturday versus Vancouver.
|Justin Kea (Plymouth)|
Justin Kea (2012, third round) continued his clutch ways Friday with his second two-goal game of the year as Saginaw edged Plymouth 3-2 in overtime. Kea, who earned the game’s number one star, scored his second goal of the night and 10th of the year with 1:57 remaining in regulation to force the extra period. The 6-foot-4 Kea has now collected points in four of his last five games.
Daniel Catenacci (2011, third round) saw his six-game point streak come to a halt Saturday as Owen Sound was doubled up 4-2 by Belleville. The speedy Catenacci heads to Calgary for Team Canada’s Selection Camp as the Attack’s leading point-getter with 45 points (17+28) in 32 games.
Belleville defenseman Brady Austin (2012, seventh round) notched a pair of helpers last week as the Bulls won three straight contests. The mobile defender has gathered five points in his last six outings for the Bulls, who have a three-point lead on Oshawa for first place in the OHL’s East Division.
Barrie rearguard Alex Lepkowski (2011, fifth round) continued to anchor the top defensive pair as the Colts earned a pair of victories. At the 30-game mark, the stay-at-home Lepkowski has six assists and a plus-nine rating, as Barrie sits atop the OHL’s Eastern Conference with a record of 21-8-1 (43 pts.).
|Jake McCabe (Wisconsin)|
Wisconsin sophomore Jake McCabe (2012, second round) registered two assists over the weekend as the Badgers’ skated to a pair of ties with WCHA opponent Michigan Tech. McCabe, who will join 26 other players at USA’s World Junior Selection Camp Dec. 16-18, leads all Wisconsin defenders with two goals and eight points through 14 games. Fellow sophomore Brad Navin (2011, seventh round) picked up his second point of the year, an assist, on Saturday. The Badgers will stay in Madison for a Thursday-Friday set with Alabama-Huntsville.
Christian Isackson (2010, seventh round) fired four shots on goal in his return to top-line duty Saturday as Minnesota played to a 4-4 tie with Colorado College. The Gophers now head to semester break, returning on Dec. 29 to open the Mariucci Classic against Air Force. Minnesota closes out the two-day showcase when they’ll face Boston College on Dec. 30.
St. Cloud State commit Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) recorded a season-low minus-three rating Saturday as Cedar Rapids was shutout 3-0 by Muskegon. The RoughRiders return to action Wednesday versus the Lincoln Stars.
In Sweden, Linus Ullmark (2012, sixth round) made 23 saves Saturday in his first Swedish Elite League start of the season as MODO headed to the break with a 3-2 overtime victory over Lulea. It is expected that the 19-year old netminder will remain with the top club when MODO resumes play Dec. 26 against AIK.
On Friday, Joel Armia (2011, first round) used his skating and astute one-on-one skills to score his 10th goal of the year as Assat was handed a 2-1 loss at Lukko. Armia, who missed the Aces’ previous five outings while recovering from a concussion, corralled a puck at center ice and worked his way through a defender before burying a beautiful backhand. The scoring line winger will join the under-20 Finnish National Team this week to prep for the 2013 World Junior Championship.
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.