SAVOIE SCORES TWICE IN PROSPECTS CHALLENGE OPENER
Rosen, Novikov record multi-point outings in 6-3 victory over MontrealSep 16, 2023
By Katelyn Kardaman @katelynkardaman for Sabres.com
Matt Savoie showed why he could be a prime candidate for a Sabres roster spot this season after tallying a pair of highlight-reel worthy goals in a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens in the Sabres’ first Prospects Challenge game Friday evening at LECOM Harborcenter.
After deciding not to pass the puck through traffic, linemate Zach Benson flipped the puck into the air and over to Savoie, who went airborne, knocking down the puck and putting it on net. The puck slid under Canadiens goaltender Jakub Dobes for Savoie’s first of the night.
“He’s usually putting them right on the tape,” Savoie said. “But it was obviously a bit of a logjam in the slot there. So, pretty special play to a find a way to get that to me.”
Savoie and Benson excelled in transition, putting their speed and ability to capitalize on Montreal’s mistakes on full display. Filip Cederqvist complemented the duo by getting them the puck in open space, which was coach Seth Appert’s goal when putting the line together.
Just over five minutes into the third, Cederqvist sent a cross ice pass as Savoie entered the zone with speed. Savoie beat his defender and collected his own rebound before backhanding the puck into the far corner of the net for his second of the game.
“Coming into the game, I was obviously really excited to just get back out there and compete again,” he said. “Just the confidence I had this go-around, it helped me a ton.”
Isak Rosen and Nikita Novikov also played with confidence as both recorded multi-point nights of their own. Rosen tallied a goal and two assists while Novikov dished out three assists, including one on Tyson Kozak’s game-winning goal.
Rosen, who said he had one of his best summers ever, looked strong and comfortable on both ends of the ice.
After the Sabres fell behind early in the first period, Rosen brought the puck up the ice with speed and found Mats Lindgren, who tucked the puck behind Dobes.
Midway through the second, Viktor Neuchev raced to beat the Canadiens’ defense to the puck, causing confusion in front of the Montreal net. Rosen found the loose puck and made no mistake, ripping a shot to tie the game at two on the power play.
In the final minutes of play, he capped off his three-point outing with an assist on Jiri Kulich’s goal to secure the victory.
“I thought Rosen was excellent from the drop of the puck,” Appert said. “Was a real dominant player from the drop of the puck.
“There’s a lot of guys that had very, very good games for us.”
Following the initial jitters, the Sabres settled in to outshoot the Canadiens 27-21 and saw 11 different players find the scoresheet in the win.
Goaltender Scott Ratzlaff, Buffalo’s fifth-round pick in this year’s draft, finished with 18 saves in 60 minutes of play.
Buffalo returns to LECOM Harborcenter for their second game of the Prospects Challenge on Saturday. The Sabres will take on the New Jersey Devils at 7 p.m.