Sep 20, 2022

By Connor Pohlman for

The talented prospects for the blue and gold were on full display on Monday afternoon when the Buffalo Sabres took home a 6-3 win in the Prospects Challenge finale against the Ottawa Senators.

Matt Savoie and Tyson Kozak each scored two goals while Aleksandr Kisakov tallied three assists. Linus Weissbach and Lukas Rousek also scored goals for Buffalo. 

The Sabres finished the Prospects Challenge with wins in all three games. 

"We are proud of the mentality they had," Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert said. "They're still young hockey players. They're not men yet, they're not certainly - most of them - aren't pros yet. They're embarking on being pros. But the only way to have three games like that is to come with the right mentality, because we challenged them to play different than they did in junior hockey."

Here are three takeaways from the game. 


Savoie finishes strong

Savoie, the ninth-overall selection in this year's draft, scored both of his goals during the third period to break a 3-3 tie. He finished the tournament with three goals in as many games but drew equal praise from coaches for his play without the puck.

"I think I'm definitely an offensive player, but when the puck's not going your way you got to do other things to contribute, play a whole 200-foot game, play in the system," Savoie said. 


Savoie buried a one-timer fed by Kisakov for his first goal, then went bar down on the power play less than four minutes later. He flashed all game, showcasing his speed and forechecking ability, winning puck battles in the corners and blazing past defenders.

"He definitely was getting more and more confident as it went," Appert said. 

Kisakov gains confidence

Kisakov, a second-round pick in 2021, missed development camp in July while he completed his immigration from Russia. The Prospects Challenge served as his introduction to North American hockey, and his confidence grew as it progressed.

Kisakov intercepted a pass from goaltender Jakob Robilard and quickly fed Weissbach for the Sabres' opening goal in the first period. He earned the primary assist on both of Savoie's goals in the third.

"When he has the puck, he's at his best," Appert said. "And that's not always the case. Some guys are great in other areas. He's very intelligent. He's a great passer. His lateral agility is crazy."

Kisakov finished the tournament with a goal and three assists.


"A coach's dream"

Kozak delivered his second multi-goal effort of the tournament, continuing to show why he earned an entry-level contract this summer after being drafted during the seventh round in 2021. 

"He's a coach's dream," Appert said. "Naturally, innately, he plays the game the right way. He's a real honest player."

Kozak is eligible to play for Rochester this season.

"I would think I'm coaching him soon," Appert finished.

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