If confidence can be quantified, check out Cliff Pu’s numbers.
The forward was the third-round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in June and after spending the summer in development camp and rookie camp, returned to his major-junior team, the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, energized for a new season.
He has already doubled his offensive production from last season and the Knights are looking to make another playoff run to defend their Memorial Cup title.
Last season, Pu scored 12 goals with 31 points in 63 games.
This season, through 45 games, he ranks fourth in the Ontario Hockey League with 66 points – 27 goals and 39 assists in 45 games. He has seven power-play goals and 17 power-play assists with a pair of short-handed goals for good measure.
What’s the difference? Confidence, opportunity and his teammates.
“I believe in myself,” Pu said. “Ever since I started playing hockey, it’s kind of just a confidence thing. I expect myself to do good things in the league and I’ve been able to do it this year.
“The coaching staff has trusted me enough in top roles. I’ve had an opportunity to produce for them and I think obviously when you play more, you produce more. I’m playing with good players. Everyone is good on our team. They’re able to find me in good scoring positions and I’m lucky enough to finish.”
With his draft year behind him, Pu said there is even more confidence to his game, gained in large part from his time at summer camps with other Sabres’ prospects.
“At the camps you see a lot of guys who have gone through it before,” Pu said. “They’re all nice guys. The older guys in camp, you get to talk to them a little. They try to tell you to play your game and have fun and play with confidence. That’s what they were telling me at NHL camps to bring back to my OHL team – to play with as much confidence as I can.”
Evan Rodrigues has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his last 15 games including scoring a pair of goals on Saturday in the Amerks’ 4-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack in Connecticut. Patrick Mullen picked up two assists as did captain Cal O’Reilly in his first game with the Amerks after a stint with the Sabres.
It was a weekend split for the Amerks, who lost, 3-2, to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday.
Rochester hosts the Albany Devils in Blue Cross Arena at 7:05 p.m. Friday then travels to Syracuse to face the Crunch on Saturday.
Vojtech Budik (Prince Albert Raiders, defenseman) – He has 15 assists in 44 games.
Giorgio Estephan (Lethbridge Hurricanes, forward) – Scored the overtime game-winner in a 3-2 decision over the Red Deer Rebels on Feb. 1. It was his second goal and third point of the night. Ranks third on the team in scoring with 63 points in 49 games.
Brendan Guhle (Prince George Cougars, defenseman) – In 40 WHL games he has 12 goals and 12 assists.
Brandon Hagel (Red Deer Rebels, left wing) – Had three points in three games this week, scoring in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Feb. 1, then picked up two assists in a 6-3 win over the Prince Albert Raiders. He has 50 points (21 goals, 29 assists) in 46 games.
Devante Stephens (Kelowna Rockets, defenseman) – Scored his ninth goal of the season in an 8-2 win over the Calgary Hitmen on Feb. 1 then picked up an assist in a 3-2 win over the Prince George Cougars on Feb. 3. Has 21 points on the season.
Austin Osmanski (Mississauga Steelheads, defenseman) – East Aurora native has six points (one goal, five assists) in 39 games.
Vasily Glotov (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, forward) – Registered his 30th assist in a 6-4 loss to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Feb. 3. He has 11 goals and 41 points.
William Borgen (St. Cloud State, defenseman) – Has two goals and nine assists.
Christopher Brown (Boston College, center) – Did not play against New Hampshire on Friday. Has seven goals and 15 assists in 28 games.
Ivan Chukarov (UMass, defenseman) – Sophomore has one goal and five assists in 26 games.
Casey Fitzgerald (Boston College, defenseman) – Picked up his 14th assist in a 6-4 win at New Hampshire on Feb. 3. Has five goals and 19 points in 26 games.
Anthony Florentino (Providence, defenseman) – Senior netted a hat trick in a 5-3 win over Maine on Feb. 4. His 15 points matches his career high.
Connor Hurley (Notre Dame, center) – ND Insider reports that the junior is out for the rest of the season with an undisclosed personal issue. Has four goals and 12 assists in 21 games.
Sean Malone (Harvard, center) – Senior from West Seneca scored his 11th goal of the season in a 3-1 win at Colgate on Jan. 28. He has 23 points in 21 games.
Philip Nyberg (Connecticut, defenseman) – Has four assists in 10 games for the Huskies.
Cal Petersen (Notre Dame, goalie) – Junior gave up five goals in a weekend series with Vermont. Four of those came in a 4-4 tie on Feb. 3 while he allowed one goal on 32 shots in a 4-1 win on Feb. 4. He has a 2.11 goals against average and a .925 save percentage with a 15-9-4 record.
Judd Peterson (St. Cloud State, center) – Has nine goals and four assists in 28 games.
Max Willman (Brown, forward) – Scored his 10th goal of the season in a 3-3 tie with Princeton on Feb. 4. Has 20 points this season.
Rasmus Asplund (SHL, forward) – Has three goals and 12 assists in 29 games for Farjestad BK.
Jonas Johansson (Allsvenskan, goalie) – Has a 2.20 goals against average and a .913 save percentage in 28 games for Almtuna IS.
Victor Olofsson (SHL, forward) – Has nine goals and 12 assist in 40 games for Frolunda HC.
Gustav Possler (SHL, forward) – Has two goals and one assist in 10 games for Djurgardens IF after missing the first half of the season with a broken ankle.