Veteran prospects Guhle, Fasching, Bailey and Baptiste lead the Sabres to victory in front of a packed house at Harbor Center
The Buffalo Sabres prospects made up for a lackluster effort yesterday with a 7-4 victory over Boston tonight at Harbor Center. During last night’s loss to New Jersey, fans were waiting for one of the fringe roster players to distinguish themselves from the pack. Tonight that player was Hudson Fasching with a two goal effort.
While the score would indicate a lopsided affair, the first two periods were relatively even at the two teams entered the second intermission deadlocked at 3-3. Not wanting to lose twice in two nights on home ice, the Sabres youngsters came out guns blazing in the third in a rough and rowdy final frame.
Lesser known defensive prospect Arvin Atwal quickly became a crowd favorite this evening. Mid-way through the third period, high profile Bruins prospect Jacob DeBrusk took a run at Nic Baptiste, checking him head first into the boards (thankfully Baptiste came away from the collision unscathed). Atwal was the first man on the scene, quickly dropping the gloves with DeBrusk in an extremely one sided affair. The Sabres faithful in attendance erupted in applause as Atwal mercifully took DeBrusk to the ice. Atwal spent last season with Cincinnati in the ECHL.
Cliff Pu, another fan favorite, continued his strong performance from last night, registering two assists on the evening, both of which came on the power-play. Twitter legend Vasily Glotov also contributed two helpers, one of which to 2015 second round pick Vaclav Karabacek to seal the win late for the blue and gold.
Blue-Chip defeseman Brendan Guhle turned in a stellar performance on the back end, contributing a goal and two assists on the stat sheet. He was without question the best player on the ice for the entirety of the contest. Guhle appeared to play the entire game at a higher level than his peers. If he can perform that way consistently, he will be an early call up for the Sabres if injury strikes.
“I just wanted to come in and play my game and show them what I’m capable of doing,” said Guhle. “They don’t want to see me trying to be something I’m not.”
Goaltender Jake McGrath rebounded from a dreadful second period performance (where he let in two goals on seven shots), making key saves down the stretch to preserve the Sabres lead. Currently playing for Sudbury of the OHL, the 18-year-old McGrath showed that he belonged in the organization, making 31 saves on 35 shots faced, 14 of which came in the third period.
Veteran prospect Justin Bailey was also able to find the twine tonight, capitalizing on a power-play opportunity.
On a somewhat disappointing note, Alex Nylander was held out of the game with an upper body injury. Nylander will miss the remainder of the Prospect Challenge for precautionary reasons.
This is exactly the type of performance that the Sabres brass had hoped to see from their young talent. Not only did they look like a more overall cohesive squad, they showed the ability to band together and dominate with the game on the line. There will be a great deal of roster competition this season, not only in Buffalo, but for the Rochester Amerks as well. That is a positive sign for a Rochester group that failed to meet expectations last season.
The Sabres have one more game before they close out the Prospects Challenge. They will face-off against the Penguins on Monday night at 7PM.