The opening weekend of Sabres regular season action also saw an abundance of games being played in the Buffalo pipeline. This included some terrific starts from Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Linus Ullmark, Casey Mittelstadt, Linus Weissbach, and CJ Smith.
Wednesday, October 4th
The only Sabres prospect action to take place was a match between Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s LeKi and Espoo United. Luukkonen took the 3-2 victory into overtime. With a total of 31 saves in the game, including 11 in the first period and 14 in the third, there was plenty of action in front of the Espoo native’s crease.
His second game on loan from HPK brought his season stats to a 2.00 GAA and .935 save percentage in Mestis. In two games with HPK’s U20 team, UPL had a 2.50 GAA and a .924 SVS%.
Thursday, October 5th
A trio of Swedish Sabres skaters took to the ice on Thursday. Victor Olofsson, Rasmus Asplund, and Marcus Davidsson were all in action for their respective teams.
Victor Olofsson opened the scoring for Frolunda in their 3-2 overtime victory over Lulea with a nice shot right from the far circle. The goal was Olofsson’s second of the year
Former second-round selection Rasmus Asplund provided an awesome cross-crease pass to set up a Farjestad goal. The assist was Asplund’s 3rd on the year and helped Farjestad take the game into overtime for the eventual victory.
Marcus Davidsson was quiet in Djurgarden’s 6-2 win over Rogle. Registering just over nine minutes of ice-time, but most of Davidsson’s work came in the defensive zone. He had a strong showing at the center position, coming out even on his draws.
Friday, October 6th
With the weekend approaching, the majority of Sabres prospects saw regular season game action.
Starting with the main event, Casey Mittelstadt took to the ice for the first time as a Golden Gopher in the regular season. As predicted, Mittelstadt was a deadly force on offense for Minnesota. Last year’s first-round pick fed Scott Reedy from the top of the crease for his first point of the year. Seems like it is going to be a treat to watch him this season.
Ukko Pekka-Luukkonen started in his second game in the week and had arguably his best game on Friday. UPL was completely perfect until the final second when he let in Roki’s only goal, in LeKi’s 3-1 win. The win brought his season SV% to .948.
Linus Weissbach showcased his speed and shiftiness up ice on his assist in Wisconsin’s 3-2 loss to Ohio State. Weissbach has been quite effective for the Badgers to start off the season. The assist gave him three total points on the season.
Casey Fitzgerald supplied his first point of the season in Boston College’s opener vs Quinnipiac which ended in a 1-1 tie. Fitzgerald’s assist came at the blueline on the far boards and a crisp pass to the near corner of the goal found Jacob Tortora.
Ryan Wolfe had the recap on Friday’s Rochester Americans game, where the likes of Linus Ullmark, Justin Bailey, and CJ Smith all had great performances.
On the injury front, UConn’s Philip Nyberg left game action with a lower-body injury and is likely to miss some time.
Saturday, October 7th
In Ukko Pekka-Luukkonen’s third game this week, he backstopped LeKi to a 5-2 win against Hermes. UPL is leading the Mestis league in saves (119) and save percentage (.944)
After dishing out an assist for his first NCAA point, Casey Mittelstadt took the next step by scoring his first goal in regular season action in the NCAA. Not only did he score, he also registered a Gopher-leading five shots on the night.
Twitter favorite Vasily Glotov scored his first of the year on Saturday in a 3-2 loss to his former team in Cape Breton.
In Syracuse, the Americans had their second game of a back to back with the Crunch. CJ Smith had another masterful performance with a goal and an assist. Adam Wilcox was in net for the 3-2 OT win.
Jacob Bryson had a stellar game for Providence in their 3-2 win over Miami. Bryson, who was on the receiving end of a five-minute major boarding call, came back with two assists on the night.
Will Borgen and Judd Petersen both tallied an assist each in St. Cloud State’s 4-0 win over Minnesota State.
Sunday, October 8th
In a light, Sunday of action, the only bright spot of the day was Marcus Davidsson’s defensive performance in Djurgarden’s 2-1 win over Vaxjo. Davidsson finished the game with just over nine minutes of ice time and was 85% on faceoffs.
A quick note on Oskari Laaksonen: The Finnish defenseman taken in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft has played in 14 games with Ilves’ U20 team. In those 14 games he has amassed 5 points and in the most part as really developed a strong puck-moving and transitional game. He has struggled in his own end. Outworked and outskated on numerous occasions but has been making up for it with his passing work and offensive effort.
Thanks for joining this week and be sure to check back again next week for the latest Sabres pipeline recap. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for the hottest Buffalo Sabres prospect takes @MarkoLWOS