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Sabres Prospects Report: Playoff time begins for major-junior teams

Playoffs begin this week for all three major-junior leagues in the Canadian Hockey League. In the Western Hockey League, prospects Giorgio Estephan and Brandon Hagel will face off when Lethbridge and Red Deer meet in the best-of-seven first-round series.

The Ontario Hockey League has one game left in the regular season on Tuesday but both Austin Osmanski (Mississauga Steelheads) and Cliff Pu (London Knights) will be playing postseason hockey. The Steelheads have clinched a playoff berth but their first-round opponent will be determined by their final regular season game against the Sudbury Wolves on Tuesday.

In Quebec, center Vasily Glotov and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles will meet Gatineau in the first round.

The weekly update on prospects in the organization:

Rochester Americans: The Amerks have lost four straight games – three of them to the St. John’s IceCaps. The Amerks have been shut out three times in their last seven games. The team plays the Marlies in Toronto on Tuesday then returns home to host the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday, March 24 (7:05 p.m.) and on Sunday, March 26 (3:05 p.m.).


Vojtech Budik (Prince Albert Raiders, defenseman) – Finished the season with one goal and 25 assists in 56 games. The Raiders finished out of the playoffs with 49 points (21 wins, 44 losses, 5 overtime losses and two shoot out losses).

Giorgio Estephan (Lethbridge Hurricanes, forward) – Scored 35 goals with 54 assists in 68 regular-season games. The Hurricanes finished second in the Central Division and will play the Red Deer Rebels in the first round beginning Saturday, March 25.

Brendan Guhle (Prince George Cougars, defenseman) – Registered 33 points in 47 regular-season games in the WHL. Had 15 goals including four on the power play and one shorthanded. The Cougars won the B.C. Division and will play the Portland Winterhawks in the first round beginning Friday, March 24.

Brandon Hagel (Red Deer Rebels, left wing) – Ranks second on the Rebels in scoring with 71 points (31 goals, 40 assists) in 65 regular season games. Had 11 power-play goals with two short-handed tallies. The Rebels finished third in the Central Division and play Lethbridge in the first round of the playoffs beginning March 25.

Devante Stephens (Kelowna Rockets, defenseman) – Finished the regular season with a career-high 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists). The Rockets finished second in the B.C. Division and will play the Kamloops Blazers beginning on March. 24.


Austin Osmanski (Mississauga Steelheads, defenseman) – The East Aurora native has two goals and six assists in 54 games. The Steelheads clinched the Central Division title and second overall in the Eastern Conference and will play either the Ottawa 67’s or the Sudbury Wolves in the first round of the playoffs.

Cliff Pu (London Knights, forward) – Ranks eighth in the OHL in scoring with 86 points (35 goals, 51 assists) in 63 regular season games. He has 11 power-play goals, two short-handed goals, and owns a plus-27 rating. The Knights clinched fourth place in the Western Conference and play the Windsor Spitfires in the first round of the playoffs starting Friday, March 24.


Vasily Glotov (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, forward) – Finished the regular season with 15 goals (four on the power play) and 35 assists in 64 games. The Screaming Eagles finished seventh overall in the league and will face the Gatineau Olympiques in the first round of the playffs.


William Borgen (St. Cloud State, defenseman) – Missed the NCHC quarterfinals after the league suspended him for two games for shoving league referee Nick Krebsbach in the last game of the regular season. The Huskies were swept by North Dakota. Borgen finished his sophomore season with two goals and 10 assists in 33 games.

Christopher Brown (Boston College, center) – Had two assists in a 3-2 win over Boston University in the Hockey East semifinals. The Eagles lost in the championship game and were not selected for the NCAA tournament. Brown finished his sophomore season with 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists).

Ivan Chukarov (UMass, defenseman) – The sophomore finished with two goals and six assists in 36 games for UMass.

Casey Fitzgerald (Boston College, defenseman) – The sophomore finished his season with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) as the Eagles lost in the Hockey East title game.

Anthony Florentino (Providence, defenseman) – The senior had nine goals and seven assists in the regular season. The Friars made the NCAA as an at-large team and will play Harvard in the first-round March 24 in Providence.

Connor Hurley (Notre Dame, center) – ND Insider reports that the junior is out for the rest of the season with an undisclosed personal issue. Had four goals and 12 assists in 21 games.

Sean Malone (Harvard, center) – The senior from West Seneca had an assist as Harvard defeated Cornell for the ECAC title. He leads the Crimson with 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists). Harvard earned a No. 1 seed (third overall) in the NCAA tournament and will face Providence in the first round.

Philip Nyberg (Connecticut, defenseman) – Finished his freshman season with one goal and five assists in 16 games.

Cal Petersen (Notre Dame, goalie) – Gave up five goals to UMass-Lowell in the Hockey East semifinal. Will lead the Irish into their NCAA tournament game against overall No. 4 Minnesota on March 24 in Manchester, N.H. The junior has a .928 save percentage and a 2.14 goals-against average with a 21-11-5 record.

Judd Peterson (St. Cloud State, center) – Finished the season with 11 goals and six assists in 36 games.

Max Willman (Brown, forward) – The junior finished with a career-high 11 goals and 15 assists in 31 games for the Bears.


Rasmus Asplund (SHL, forward) – Scored six goals with 13 assists in 39 games for Farjestad BK. In three playoff games has two assists.

Jonas Johansson (Allsvenskan, goalie) – Had a 2.26 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in 37 games for Almtuna IS. In four qualification games had a .935 save percentage and a 2.04 goals-against average.

Victor Olofsson (SHL, forward) – Had nine goals and 18 assist in 51 games for Frolunda HC. Registered two assists in two playoff games.

Gustav Possler (SHL, forward) – Had two goals and two assists in 21 games for Djurgardens IF after missing the first half of the season with a broken ankle. Had one goal in three playoff games.

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