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SABRES PROSPECTS REPORT

Zadorov shines in his return to junior; Baptiste preps for Russian invasion

Monday, 11.25.2013 / 1:45 PM / News
By Kris Baker  - SabresProspects.com
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SABRES PROSPECTS REPORT
Nikita Zadorov (2013, first round) shined in his return to junior hockey Thursday, playing steady defensively while posting three assists as Russia posted their first victory of the 2013 Subway Super Series with a 5-2 victory over Team OHL.
Nikita Zadorov

Nikita Zadorov (2013, first round) shined in his return to junior hockey Thursday, playing steady defensively while posting three assists as Russia posted their first victory of the 2013 Subway Super Series with a 5-2 victory over Team OHL.

Zadorov overcame a slow start to make a difference when the puck dropped for period two. On his first shift, the veteran of seven NHL games made his presence known by nearly catching Max Domi (PHX) with his head down at the Russian blue line. Minutes later during a penalty killing effort, Zadorov intercepted a pass along the boards, took three strides up ice, and sprung 2014 draft prospect Ildar Shiksatdorov for a breakaway goal.

In the third period, the 18-year old continued to display his dominance by skating down to the left circle and firing a bullet pass to the edge of the crease right on the tape of Vladimir Butuzov to give the Russians a 4-2 lead. Zadorov, who leveraged his long reach and played the body throughout, completed the three-point night when his zone clear off the boards was converted into an empty-net goal to cap the Russian triumph.

The hard-hitting defender followed up his Team Russia performance by heading back to London of the OHL, earning an assist in each of his first two games as the Knights upped their winning streak to six with wins over Erie and Windsor.

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Aside from being a minute-eating stalwart for the balance of the season en route to London’s hosting of the 2014 Memorial Cup, Zadorov will be a featured performer when Russia begins play at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden on Dec. 26. The leadership experience in pressure situations will no doubt benefit the talented rearguard as he prepares for the successful NHL journey ahead.


Nicholas Baptiste (Sudbury Wolves)

OHL
In Friday action, Nicholas Baptiste (2013, third round) hit the slot for his 18th goal of the year and added a pair of helpers as Sudbury cruised past Niagara 6-1. Baptiste, whose 18 goals are tied for eighth overall in the OHL, has collected three points or more five times this season. He’ll represent the OHL when the Subway Super Series hits his home rink in Sudbury on Monday.

READ PATRICK KING'S STORY ON THE FOLIGNO-BAPTISTE CONNECTION

Saginaw centerman Justin Kea (2012, third round) notched four points (2+2) last week, posting a goal and an assist in Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Sault Ste. Marie, and then repeating the 1+1 effort Saturday as the Spirit toppled Sarnia 6-2. Kea’s hard work in all three zones has translated to a point-per-game production with 11 goals and 14 assists through 25 contests.

Justin Bailey (2013, second round) stepped into a faceoff win for his eighth goal of the year Friday as Kitchener doubled Belleville 8-4. The big winger has scored goals in five of his last 10 appearances to up his point total to 17 (8+9) through 23 contests.

Defenseman Brady Austin (2011, seventh round) scored the game-winning goal Friday as London downed Erie 4-1. Austin, who added an assist in the Knights’ 4-0 blanking of Windsor on Saturday, currently places eighth among league skaters with a plus-18 rating.


WHL
Logan Nelson
(2012, fifth round) spun his way to a goal and picked up an assist Friday as Victoria smoked Kamloops 6-1. Victoria's offensive leader with 27 points (11+16), Nelson recorded another helper Saturday as the Royals completed the weekend sweep of the Blazers with a 3-0 triumph. The third-year forward enters the final week of November riding a four-game winning streak.


J.T. Compher (U. of Michigan)

NCAA
J.T. Compher
(2013, second round) snagged a pair of assists Friday as No. 3 Michigan pitched a 6-0 shutout of Niagara. The two-helper effort was Compher's third multi-point outing of his 11-game NCAA career. The Wolverines open the B1G schedule Friday versus Ohio State.

Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) contributed four shots on goal as No. 4 Providence dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to No. 20 New Hampshire. The freshman defender netted a plus-two rating Saturday as the Friars earned the Hockey East spilt with a 4-2 doubling of the Wildcats.

Christian Isackson (2010, seventh round) picked up an assist Sunday as No. 1 Minnesota saw their 10-game home unbeaten snapped with a 6-2 loss to No. 18 Minnesota-Duluth. The checking line forward has collected two assists while appearing six of the Gophers’ 12 games.

In Wednesday action, Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) pumped three shots on goal as Harvard was defeated by Boston College 5-1. Through his first nine collegiate games, Malone has a goal and five points while averaging over three shots on goal per contest.


USHL
Judd Peterson
(2012, seventh round) roofed a breakaway tally Friday for his ninth goal of the year as Cedar Rapids edged Muskegon 3-2 in overtime. Peterson missed a portion of the third period after serving a misconduct penalty for checking from behind. The St. Cloud State commit has scored nine times on 25 shots in the RoughRiders’ first 15 games.

On Friday, Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) stopped 26 of 33 shots but saw his seven-game winning streak snapped as Waterloo dropped a wild 8-6 decision to Team USA. Petersen battled well until Team USA scored three power play goals in a span of 2:47 late in period two. The seven goals against are the most allowed by the Notre Dame commit in his 46 career USHL starts.

Muskegon center Connor Hurley (2013, second round) missed the week’s two games due to undisclosed reasons. Hurley has appeared in 14 of the Lumberjacks’ 21 games this season, scoring three goals and 11 points along the way.


Swedish Hockey League (SHL)
In Wednesday action, Linus Ullmark (2012, sixth round) made 25 saves and stopped three of four in the shootout as MODO defeated the Vaxjo Lakers 2-1. The performance ups Ullmark’s record to 6-6 for the league’s sixth-place club, while maintaining his spot among goaltending leaders with a 1.72 GAA (2nd) and .943 save% (1st).

Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) missed his fifth-straight game after suffering a knee injury back on Nov. 3. Despite his absence, Possler continues to lead the MODO attack with 13 points (8+5) through 18 games.


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.

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