Isak Rosen collected the puck in the correct circle on the ability play Thursday night time with the chance to disappoint the Montreal Canadiens followers who made the trek to Buffalo to watch the debut of No. 1 draft decide Juraj Slafkovsky.
Rosen hesitated and, by the point he shot the puck, Canadiens goalie Joe Vrebtic was in place to make the save. The second had no bearing on the Buffalo Sabers 4-3 win over Montreal within the opening sport of the Prospects Challenge in LECOM Harborcenter, but it surely was an essential lesson for Rosen as he adjusts to the strain that comes with taking part in professional hockey in North America .
Rosen did not hesitate once more. With the Sabers clinging to a one-goal lead and solely seconds remaining in regulation, the Swedish winger blocked a shot to guarantee victory.
“What a blocked shot,” beamed Rochester coach Seth Appert. “That’s successful hockey. That’s a first-round decide, that is a talented participant, that is an offensive-minded participant that did numerous actually good issues tonight, but he is going on the market with 15 seconds to go and he is going to eat a puck to win a hockey sport . I feel that is an important signal of what he stands for as a hockey participant.”
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A Swedish winger drafted 14th general in 2021, Rosen did not seem annoyed by his mishap within the first interval or when Canadiens rookie Filip Mesar scored a shorthanded purpose moments later to give Montreal a 2-0 lead. Rosen confirmed progress with each shift and contact of the puck, like he did at improvement camp in July.
On May 31, Isak Rosen signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Sabres, who chosen him within the first spherical, 14th general, on the draft final July.
Early within the second interval, Rosen carried the puck into the offensive zone and, later within the possession, discovered defenseman Mats Lindgren open on the blue line. Lindgren, a fourth-round draft decide in July, fired the puck towards the web, the place middle Tyson Kozak tipped it previous Vrebetic for a 3-2 lead.
Kozak completed with two targets, capped by his backhanded shot with 14:13 remaining in regulation. Josh Passolt and Nolan Burke additionally scored to assist the Sabers rally from the early deficit.
“I informed him yesterday, good on him due to how a lot better he even seems to be now than he did two months in the past,” Appert added. “And that is a credit score to his work. I mentioned it to him, you may see he was smiling, you may inform he is aware of it. He has put in a ton of labor simply within the two months since we noticed him.”
Rosen, 19, had a troublesome season after he was chosen by the Sabers with the decide acquired within the Rasmus Ristolainen commerce. Rosen’s ice time within the Swedish Hockey League was scarce and when he lastly obtained taking part in time within the nation’s second-tier league, he suffered a season-ending damage on a blocked shot that broke a number of bones in his hand.
To acquire management of Rosen’s improvement, the Sabers signed him to a three-year entry-level contract with the plan to have him in Rochester this season. He, together with Aleksandr Kisakov and Jiri Kulich, will lead a revamped Amerks’ roster that is anticipated to be with out Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka, each of whom will compete for a roster spot in Sabers coaching camp.
“His pace could be very spectacular,” mentioned Appert. “He is – I feel you noticed it on the World Juniors – he is one of many quickest gamers, I feel he was clocked as just like the second-fastest participant at high pace in the entire World Junior match. He has explosive acceleration. He does it very effortlessly. So, his skating is particular. He has superb creativity along with his imaginative and prescient. But he’s a little bit of a purpose scorer, which is nice to see for a younger participant.”
Development camp was a problem for Rosen originally. He hadn’t performed in a sport since February. The longer offseason gave him time to practice off the ice, however there is not any means to simulate demanding, aggressive practices in entrance of Sabers coaches and administration. Eventually, although, Rosen confirmed why he is one of the crucial gifted prospects in a burgeoning pipeline.
Then, on the IIHF World Junior Championship final month, Rosen was a standout in Sweden’s run to a bronze medal. His 4 targets had been tied for the group lead and he completed with 5 factors in seven video games.
“Of course, once I got here into World Juniors, I hadn’t performed for like 4 months or one thing,” mentioned Rosen. “I used to be pumped up to play once more and taking part in with confidence and taking part in first sport after which simply constructing on that. I’m simply attempting to construct on that.”
Rosen performed wing at Prospects Challenge and took the occasional faceoff after spending a while at middle final season. It’s unclear the place he’ll match long run or how a lot time he’ll obtain in Sabers coaching camp, however the sport Thursday night time was one other reminder that he possesses the expertise to make an impression in Rochester.
Here are different observations from the sport:
Matt Savoie did not have a straightforward matchup in his Sabers debut. Drafted ninth general by Buffalo in July, Savoie was usually on the ice towards Slafkovsky’s line and Montreal’s high protection pair, together with NHLer Justin Barron. Savoie additionally obtained shifts on the penalty kill and energy play. And whereas there weren’t any notable scoring probabilities, he made some spectacular passes and carried out properly defensively.
Savoie was double-shifted within the third interval, switching between middle and wing.
Matt Savoie wanted just one passing drill throughout his first follow in a Buffalo Sabers jersey to impress Rochester coach Seth Appert and remind onlookers, together with administration, why he was chosen ninth general on the NHL Draft in July.
“Savoie’s work proper is simply so excessive,” mentioned Appert. “He comes up with pucks and he made numerous performs tonight that might have ended up within the internet and did not, however Savoie on an evening that is not all around the scoreboard nonetheless helps you win hockey video games as a result of he does all the opposite issues.”
Kozak is one in every of a number of improvement success tales for the Sabers since Kevyn Adams took over as common supervisor. A seventh-round draft decide in 2021, Kozak had a breakout season with Portland of the Western Hockey League and carried out properly at improvement camp to earn an entry-level contract. His work across the internet helped him stand out in a pipeline that has a number of promising facilities. Kozak, 19, nearly accomplished the hat trick within the third interval. In a one-year span, Kozak’s established himself as a professional NHL prospect.
“For me, I feel earlier than I obtained drafted I used to be extra of a defensive-minded centerman, so I developed my offensive expertise over the summers and now it is paying off,” Kozak mentioned.
Linus Weissbach will need to have gotten administration’s consideration along with his efficiency Thursday night time. Weissbach, a 23-year-old winger, arrange the Sabres’ first purpose, a redirect by Passolt, with a cross in direction of the far submit and all the time appeared to make the sensible cross when there did not appear to be room to make a play . A seventh-round decide in 2017, Weissbach had a powerful rookie season in Rochester with 37 factors in 67 video games.
“I feel this 12 months the main focus for me this week is to sort of present that I’m not a prospect, that I’m extra prepared to play and contribute on the highest degree,” mentioned Weissbach.
Savoie centered Weissbach and Kisakov on the highest line; Rosen and Lukas Rousek performed with Kozak; Filip Cederqvist was on the left wing subsequent to Cohen Olischefski and Josh Bloom; and the fourth line was Passolt, Burke and Atley Calvert. Buffalo had three draft picks on protection: Lindgren, Oskari Laaksonen and Vsevolod Komarov.
The Sabers plan to have their two goalies, Warm and Tomas Suchanek, cut up the work this week. Warm, who signed an American Hockey League contract with Rochester, obtained the beginning Thursday and made a spectacular proper pad save to deny Mesar lower than 4 minutes into the primary interval. Suchanek was additionally distinctive for the latter half of the sport to protect the lead.
Jiri Kulich, a middle drafted twenty eighth general by the Sabers in July, will not take part within the Prospects Challenge due to a lower-body damage that was found upon his arrival in Buffalo. Kulich, 18, is taken into account “day to day,” in accordance to Rochester coach Seth Appert, and the Sabers are being cautious to guarantee he’s wholesome for coaching camp.
Forward Matej Pekar and Olivier Nedeau, each of whom are recovering from shoulder surgical procedure, can even not be on the ice for the showcase. Additionally, Bloom exited the sport with an damage and didn’t return.
Kozak tallied 34 targets and 40 assists within the common season and 10 playoff video games with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.
The Prospects Challenge continues Friday with Boston vs. Ottawa and New Jersey vs. Montreal at 3:30 pm and seven pm, respectively. The Sabers follow in LECOM Harborcenter at 11:30 am, in preparation for his or her sport Saturday towards New Jersey at 7 pm