SABRES PROSPECTS REPORT
Mikhail Grigorenko (2012, first round) opened scoring just 3:47 into the first period Sunday as Quebec advanced to the second round of the QMJHL playoffs with a 4-3 overtime triumph over Chicoutimi. The goal, Grigorenko’s third of the postseason, gives the 18-year old centerman a team-best 12 points and a 48.7 percent success rate on faceoffs as the Remparts closed out the Sagueneens in six games.
Grigorenko has dominated statistically since re-joining Patrick Roy’s squad for the final day of the regular season, getting on the scoresheet in all seven of his appearances for 16 points (4+12) in total. Quebec moves on to face either PEI or Rouyn-Noranda beginning Saturday.
Dan Catenacci (2011, third round) scored twice in the first five minutes of play Friday to help Owen Sound to a 5-3 victory over Sault Ste. Marie in game five of the Western Conference quarterfinal. The double helping, which was rewarded with the game's number two star, snaps Catenacci’s five-game goal drought going back to the regular season. The Attack wrapped up the series on Sunday with a 4-3 win, setting up a semifinal matchup with Plymouth.
On Saturday, Brady Austin (2012, seventh round) was plus-two with a secondary assist as Belleville smoked Mississauga 5-0. Austin has three helpers and a steady plus-six rating for the top-seeded Bulls, who take a 3-2 series lead into Mississauga for Monday's game six. A Belleville victory would set up an Eastern Conference semifinal versus Sudbury.
Barrie defenseman Alex Lepkowski (2011, fifth round) finished with an even rating as the Colts hammered Kingston 8-2 on Wednesday to earn the first-round playoff sweep. Barrie moves on to face one of Oshawa or Mississauga, with the rugged lefthander looking to step up his game with regular partner Ryan O’Connor suspended for the entire second round.
Justin Kea (2012, third round) saw his hard work nullified Thursday as Saginaw was swept from the playoffs with a 6-2 loss to London. Kea recorded a goal and a fighting major in the four games as the eighth-seeded Spirit were simply overmatched by the deeper Knights squad.
Logan Nelson (2012, fifth round) came to life in the third period Saturday, notching an assist on the game-winning goal and racing to score an empty-netter as Victoria staved off elimination with a 4-2 doubling of Kamloops. Nelson has posted two goals and four assists in five postseason games, and a total of 17 points (8+9) in his last 15 tilts going back to the regular season. The Royals face a 3-2 deficit with the series heading back to Victoria for Monday’s game six.
Andrey Makarov made 25 saves Wednesday, but the Saskatoon Blades were bounced from the WHL playoffs with a 3-1 loss to Medicine Hat. The East Division champion Blades, who were swept in four straight games, will now wait over a month-and-a-half before hosting the 2013 Memorial Cup starting May 17.
Sophomores Jake McCabe (2012, second round) and Brad Navin (2011, seventh round) saw their seasons come to an end Friday as Wisconsin was blown out by Lowell 6-1 in the NCAA Tournament East Regional semifinal. McCabe finishes the year with 21 points (3+18) and a plus-14 rating in 38 games for the Badgers, while Navin contributed a goal and three assists in a checking line role.
In the West Regional semifinal, Christian Isackson (2010, seventh round) skated in fourth line minutes as top-seeded Minnesota was ousted by Yale 3-2 in overtime. The native Minnesotan finishes his sophomore season with four goals and 20 points while appearing in all of the Gophers' 40 contests.
Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) was unable to connect as Cedar Rapids entered the home stretch with wins in the week’s three contests. The St. Cloud State commit has an assist and eight shots on goal in four games since returning from an arm injury. Winners of four straight but already eliminated from playoff contention, the RoughRiders go for their fourth-straight victory Friday when they visit Chicago.
In Swedish junior action, Linus Ullmark (2012, sixth round) made 18 saves Sunday as MODO J20 earned a place in the Anton Cup championship game with a 1-0 shutout win over Frölunda HC. Ullmark has been stellar in the SuperElit playoffs, winning all four of his starts while posting a 0.74 GAA and .970 save%. MODO shoots for the national junior title Monday versus HV71. Following the championship, Ullmark will join Sweden’s national team for exhibitions versus Slovakia on Wednesday and Friday.
Finnish sniper Joel Armia (2011, first round) was unable to score Wednesday as Ässät Pori eliminated KalPa from the SM-Liiga playoffs with a 3-0 victory. Armia connected for two goals, including a game winner, plus an assist in the Aces five-game triumph. Next up for red-hot Ässät is a best-of-seven semifinal round against defending league champion JYP Jyväskylä beginning Monday.
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.