SABRES PROSPECTS REPORT
Nikita Zadorov and Brady Austin are dominating the defense in London
A pair of Buffalo Sabres defensive prospects have being playing a key role in helping the OHL’s London Knights put together a seven-game winning streak entering the final week of February.
On Saturday, Nikita Zadorov (2013, first round) scored on the power play with 5:35 left in regulation to thrust London to a 4-3 win over Plymouth. Zadorov's second game winner of the year gives him nine goals in his last 14 games. By virtue of the productive spike, Zadorov has amassed 26 points (11+15) in 28 appearances, eclipsing his total of 25 posted a season ago in 63 games.
London defenseman Brady Austin (2012, seventh round) scored his career-high ninth goal of the year Saturday in the Knights’ win over the Whalers. The big defender, who has nine points in his last nine games for a total of 30 on the year, has amassed a sparkling plus-42 rating this season, good for fourth overall in the OHL.
The Knights are getting hot at the right time, with the winning streak seeing them leapfrog Erie for the second position in the Midwest Division standings with nine games left to play. London is poised for a deep playoff run, but regardless of the post-season outcome, Zadorov and Austin are set to gain valuable experience with London hosting the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup in May.
Eric Locke (2013, seventh round) rounded off a busy weekend Sunday by scoring two goals, including one shorthanded and the other for his first game winner of the year, to push Saginaw to a 6-3 victory over Guelph. The night before, Locke led the way with a goal and two assists as the Spirit downed Owen Sound 5-2. The 20-year old captain has 51 points in 40 games, and his seven shorthanded points are tied for tops in the league.
Justin Kea (2012, third round) returned from a hand injury to play in three games, earning points in each en route to collecting a goal and three helpers. On Saturday, Kea scored off a nice deflection to get his 17th goal for the Spirit. The power forward enters the final week of February with 38 points and 84 penalty minutes through 50 games.
Nicholas Baptiste (2013, third round) kept his second half momentum going last Monday, scoring twice and adding an assist to lead Sudbury to a 4-1 win over Mississauga. After being shut out in a Saturday loss to Barrie, Baptiste returned with a goal and an assist Sunday as the Wolves lost for the second-straight night to the Colts. The speedy winger has posted 25 multiple-point efforts to remain among the league's offensive leaders with 38 goals (t-6th in league) and 75 points (16th) in 55 games.
Justin Bailey (2013, second round) sat out for a fifth-straight game Sunday with an upper-body injury. The Rangers are expected to offer a status update for their leading scorer (25 goals and 43 points in 54 games) on Monday.
Mikhail Grigorenko (2012, first round) connected for his second-straight four-point game last Tuesday. He notched a pair of goals, including the game winner with just over three minutes into the third period, and two assists to help Quebec to a 7-5 win over the league’s top club, Blainville-Boisbriand. The 19-year old pivot has points in 12 of 15 games since his return to the Remparts, registering 11 goals and 11 assists.
Logan Nelson (2012, fifth round) connected for a pair of goals Saturday as Victoria doubled Saskatoon 6-3. The two-goal night was Nelson's third of the year, giving the Minnesota-native 49 points (22+27) through 51 games.
Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) saw his five-game point streak snapped Saturday as Harvard was blanked 2-0 by Brown. Malone, who recorded an assist in Friday’s loss to Yale, has 18 points (5+13) through 27 contests. The Crimson complete the regular season schedule next weekend with a New York road trip to face Colgate and Cornell.
J.T. Compher (2013, second round) notched an assist as No. 10 Michigan was stunned in overtime by Penn State 5-4 on Friday. Compher's 26 points (11+15) leads all Michigan skaters, while his 16 points in 14 conference contests are good for second among all Big Ten scorers
Brad Navin (2011, seventh round) scored his fourth goal of the year Friday as No. 8 Wisconsin earned a 5-2 victory over Michigan State. Navin went without a point Saturday as the Badgers blanked the Spartans, leaving the third-year forward with career-highs of four goals and nine points with four conference games left to play.
Wisconsin defenseman Jake McCabe (2012, second round) produced two assists Friday in the Badgers’ weekend opening victory over Michigan State. The two-way stalwart was held pointless the following night but still made a mark, tying his season-high with five shots on goal as Wisconsin pitched a 2-0 shutout. The Eau Claire, Wis.-native has seven goals and 22 points in 30 games this season.
Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) finished with a plus-one rating as No. 12 Providence earned the weekend sweep with a 2-1 victory over Massachusetts. Florentino has three goals, eight points and a plus-12 rating this season through 23 outings. The Friars close out their regular season schedule next weekend with a pair of games at Maine.
Connor Hurley (2013, second round) picked up two assists as Green Bay was defeated by Youngstown 7-3 on Friday. Hurley added another helper Saturday as Green Bay stifled Youngstown 3-0, giving him seven goals and 22 points (including nine power play assists) in 21 games since joining the Gamblers. He previously played 21 games in Muskegon, collecting three goals and 14 points.
Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) allowed four goals on 21 shots before exiting the game late in the second period as Waterloo got whacked by Omaha 5-0. Named a Western Conference First Team All-Star on Thursday, Petersen is 23-4-3 on the year with a 2.40 GAA and .918 save%.
Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) missed his fourth game with a lower body injury as Cedar Rapids suffered a 5-2 loss at Dubuque. The St. Cloud State commit remains the RoughRiders’ leading goal scorer with 15, while his 29 points place second in team scoring.
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.