By John Giustino
The Buffalo Sabres came away with a big victory over the Boston Bruins in game two of the Prospects Challenge by a score of 7-4. The veteran Sabres prospects showed up in full force with Hudson Fasching scoring two goals, and Brendan Guhle, Justin Bailey and Nicholas Baptiste each scoring one. C.J. Smith and Vaclav Karabacek also scored in this match, further demonstrating how their game has grown and matured on the development track since being a part of the Sabres organization.
Goaltender Jake McGrath had a shaky start to the game after conceding goals he probably should not have. After the first half of the second period however, his dominant play in net was shining for the remainder of the game. Making thirty-five of thirty-nine saves, an .897 save percentage does not do him justice. In the third period, McGrath stopped high-danger scoring opportunities with relative ease, flashing his skill and tenacity in the crease, stopping fourteen of fifteen in the third period. McGrath has slowly caused heads to turn since attending development camp in July and has most definitely impressed the coaching staff and the front office during the tournament now.
Perhaps the attribute of the Sabres this game that stood out the most is the exemplary display of discipline and play on special teams. The Boston Bruins took eight penalties that resulted in them being shorthanded, with ten penalties total; one being a fighting major and the other being an offsetting roughing minor. The Sabres maintained their composure during the game, only taking three penalties that rendered them shorthanded, and five penalties in total. The advantage of being up a man several times can wear on the offending team while tilting momentum toward the team on seemingly powerplay after powerplay. This certainly was the case as the Sabres went four for eight on the powerplay, a fifty percent scoring clip. Fasching, Guhle, Smith and Karabacek scored the powerplay goals. The Sabres showcased a very sound penalty kill as well, going one for three. The only blemish came with less than two minutes left in game off the stick of Anders Bjork. Seeing the young players executing well only means positive things for the future of the Buffalo Sabres.
There are no games on Sunday, so the Sabres have time to prepare for the final game on against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. If the Sabres win, they will be the champions of the tournament this year. Alexander Nylander was scratched due to a lower body injury and will be sat for the remainder of the tournament and will be re evaluated for training camp on Monday and Tuesday according to Chris Taylor, head coach of the Americans.
Puck drop on Monday night will be at 7:00 p.m. at HarborCenter.