BAPTISTE PROPELS CANADA TO 6-3 VICTORY
Sabres prospects lead the way in win over Russia; Compher injured
Nicholas Baptiste (2013, third round) scored a power play goal plus an assist and Sam Reinhart (2014 first round) collected a marker of his own as Canada doubled Russia 6-3 Thursday at the 2014 National Junior Team Summer Development Camp in Sherbrooke, QC. The pair struck 31 seconds apart late in the second period as Canada took control of their second scrimmage in as many days against the Russians.
Baptiste manned the right wing with Curtis Lazar (OTT) and Michael Dal Colle (NYI) while playing a featured role on the both the power play and penalty killing units. The Ottawa native was a versatile force all game long, using fantastic straight-line speed late in the opening period to gain a short-handed breakaway, and later providing a pesky net presence to draw a penalty. His up-tempo style took away time and space of the talented Russian skaters, and with the offensive skill in place, his name should be firmly in the mix when Canada puts together their World Junior squad in December.
Reinhart again centered Canada’s top line, this time flanked by Sam Bennett (CGY) and Anthony Duclair (NYR). He provided great work at both ends of the ice, making quick decisions to get the puck out of the defensive zone and finding the tape of his teammates for quality chances. Like Baptiste, he worked smartly on both sides of special teams.
Canada scored the only goal of the first period when Lazar broke in down the left side while short-handed and released a perfectly placed wrist shot at 6:29.
After Nikita Cherepanov got the Russians on the board just over a minute into the middle stanza, Baptiste broke a 1-1 tie on the power play with less than five minutes left in the period when he cut to the middle of the ice and lit the lamp a low, hard wrist shot. The good scorers find space for themselves, and that’s what Baptiste did before drilling one under the glove of Ilya Sorokin (NYI).
Thirty-one seconds later, Reinhart sped down his lane on a two-on-one rush and tapped in a Duclair feed to make it a 3-1 game. Reinhart, who had two goals in Monday’s win over the Czech Republic, simply went to the net with his stick on the ice and potted the Duclair saucer pass with a defender hounding him.
With Canada back on the power play, Bennett knocked in a rebound with three seconds left in the frame to give Canada a commanding 4-1 advantage at the second intermission.
Russia halved the lead at 4:21 of the third period with a Vladislav Gavrikov goal, but Lazar answered back 28 seconds after by cashing the rebound of a Baptiste shot for his second of the night.
Ivan Barbashev (STL) snapped a puck past Zachary Fucale (MTL) from the right circle with less than four minutes to play before Lazar capped the hat trick with an empty-net goal with 28 seconds left to seal the victory.
Canada continues their summer schedule Friday with a tilt versus the Czech Republic at 12 Noon ET.
At the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY, 2015 draft phenom Jack Eichel netted five points (1+4) and Tyler Motte (CHI) picked up the hat trick plus an assist to lead Team USA to a 9-1 triumph over Finland.
Alex Tuch (MIN) and Jack Dougherty (NSH) each snagged a goal and two assists for the Americans, while Kyle Connor (2015 draft), Dylan Larkin (DET) and John Hayden (CHI) supplied the other marks.
Just as he did Wednesday, Sabres power forward prospect Hudson Fasching skated down the right side with fellow National Team Development Program products Larkin and Sonny Milano (CBJ). The impressive trio took the first shift in all three periods and generated consistent offensive pressure as USA dominated from start to finish. Fasching had his share of opportunities but couldn’t connect en route to finishing with two shots on goal.
Providence College sophomore Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) was inserted into lineup as the seventh defender, but did not see any ice.
J.T. Compher (2013, second round) sat out with a hand injury sustained in Wednesday’s rout of Sweden. Prior to the injury, the hard-nosed forward amassed three assists in three games versus international opponents. His status for the remainder of camp is unknown. Compher, who missed the 2014 World Junior Championship after getting injured in USA’s December camp, is expected to play a key leadership role for the Americans at the 2015 event.
NJEC action continues Friday with Sweden taking on rival Finland. Team USA gets back to work Saturday against the Czech Republic in the camp finale.
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.