Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Defencive effort improved in 3-1 win over Leafs
Sunday, September 5, 1999

The team which I saw in Friday's game against the Rangers' prospects was definitely not the team who I saw last night in the Sabres 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs to cap off a 1-2 prospects tourney.

With at least 5,000 if not more Leafs fans in attendance and the 0-2 Sabres going up against the unbeaten Toronto Maple Leafs prospects, going into the game I had a bitter feeling about what was going to happen, especially after the Leafs had beaten the Rangers 6-1 the previous night.

What I did see was a huge defencive turnaround from the Rangers game. Each and every Sabres defenceman from Kalinin to Campbell to Kinch and all across the board, the Sabres defencive effort was a vast improvement.

Mika Noronen also played much better although he faced much fewer shots than against the Rangers who were firing at him left and right. The only goal he allowed was a quick blast right off the face-off which was about the only thing the 5,000 Leafs fans had to cheer about. Nothing spectacular from Noronen but he came through when needed and looked more confident between the pipes. Knights goaltender Gene Chiarello didn't see as much ice time as he did against the Rangers and for good reason.

Dimitri Kalinin scored the Sabres first goal on a one-timer. Kalinin played better in his own end and also showed great offencive progression this tourney. Against the Leafs, he was arguably our top defenceman out on the ice although as I stated before every Sabres defenceman showed signs of improvement against the Leafs. Not only did Kalinin hold his own in his own end but also would take the puck up ice and make a good pass to a forward and was surprisingly an offencive threat.

Brian Campbell didn't have anything to show for it, but also stepped up his defencive game and played surprisingly solid in his own end.

Defenceman Matt Kinch had two goals and he looks like a future decent pointman although at times I noticed that he would let skaters have an extra step on him with the puck, but his offencive production last night erased any small signs of suspect defence on Kinch's part.

Norm Milley didn't have the game he had against the Rangers but still had his share of chances. He would get my vote for the MVP of the Sabres prospects camp. Tim Preston once again impressed me with the way he gave his all every shift and worked well in the corners along the wall. Seneque Hyacinthee also worked hard shift-by-shift.

One player who I wasn't too impressed with was Mike Zigomanis. Ziggy who around the 'O' is a flashy player who takes the puck up ice well disappointed me and could've played better in my opinion.

Craig Brunel got into a fight and him and Andrew Peters continued to hold their own in their fights in the tourney.

I do not know why the line of Preston-Piros-Milley who stole the show against the Rangers was broken up for this game against the Leafs. Very poor decision there.

For the Leafs, I was very impressed with Knights/Leafs defenceman Peter Reynolds as I was when he played with the Knights. Very solid in his own end and by far was the Leafs best defenceman.

Although production from our forwards was down from the game against the Rangers, I came out of this game against the Leafs feeling better as we seemed to play better defencive, physical hockey and played like a team. I guess it took a while for the players to click together but last night the Sabres stepped up their physical game and players were helping each other in the corners along the wall and the Sabres finally played as a team and not as a bunch of individuals wanting to impress all the scouts who were in attendance.

For $24.50 you could have a pass to see all the games in Kitchener and so if anyone would like to see the prospects in action, I'd recommend you'd go because it's worth the money seeing the players give everything they've got to impress the coaches and scouts who attended the games. On the average, there were more fights and scraps in this rookie tourney than there are in the NHL and there was a lot of goal-scoring and skill being shown on the ice as well. Very entertaining hockey indeed.

Rangers 10, Sabres 5
Hurricanes 6, Sabres 3
Sabres 3, Maple Leafs 1

Article composed by Dan Salfin, Sabres Central Prospects Correspondant