Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was a star in Sudbury. ©2019, Gino Donato, Sudbury Wolves

Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen named OHL’s top goalie

Buffalo Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been named the Ontario Hockey League’s Goaltender of the Year, the junior league announced today.

The Finn, 20, quickly morphed into a star in his first North American season, compiling a sparkling 38-11-2 record with a 2.50 goals-against average, a .920 save percentage and six shutouts in 53 games.

The Sudbury Wolves, meanwhile, enjoyed their best season since 1994-95.... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen enjoyed a stellar season in Sudbury. ©2019, Sudbury Wolves

Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen undergoes hip surgery

Top Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has undergone successful hip surgery and is expected to make a full recovery within six months, Rochester Americans general manager Randy Sexton announced this morning.

The could, of course, put the start of Luukkonen’s 2019-20 season in jeopardy. The Finn, 20, will likely be the Amerks’ starting goalie next year.

Luukkonen joined the Amerks earlier this month after a stellar junior season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson had zero points in the short series. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Promising season over for Amerks after sweep by Marlies

TORONTO – Fresh off a 99-point regular season, the Rochester Americans looked poised to start a long playoff run deep into the spring.

The Buffalo Sabres’ top affiliate possessed a strong mix of prospects and veterans, terrific scoring balance and perhaps the AHL’s best depth.

It was hard to find a weakness on the Amerks, a team constructed to win the Calder Cup.

For an organization that hasn’t won anything on any level in a ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen joined Rochester earlier this month. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen learning pro game

TORONTO – On April 14 in Belleville, goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played his 68th and likely final game this season, stopping 32 shots in the Rochester Americans’ 4-2 win over the Senators.

“It was a big thing for me, builds your confidence up a lot, especially looking to next season when you want to play in the pros,” the Buffalo Sabres’ top goalie prospect said of his pro debut.

Luukkonen, 20, has taken a backseat to ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson (12) stands between Toronto's Kasimir Kaskisuo (30) and Joseph Duszak (21) on Sunday afternoon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks lose in overtime, fall behind 2-0 to Marlies

ROCHESTER – Chris Taylor was seething following Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 overtime loss. Can you blame the Americans coach? Through 122 minutes of hockey, his team has thoroughly outplayed the Toronto Marlies.

But the Amerks have nothing to show for it. Just like that, they’re on the brink, down 2-0 in the best-of-five series AHL North Division semifinal playoff series.

The Marlies can eliminate them Wednesday in Toronto.

“I’m upset, I’m mad,” Taylor said after the ... Read the full article

Kurt Gosselin has earned regular duty since arriving. ©2019, Hickling Images

College free agent Kurt Gosselin impressing Amerks

ROCHESTER – Since the Americans’ defense corps goes 11 deep, coach Chris Taylor has plenty of options at his disposal.

So among his five defense scratches for Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Marlies were NHL veteran Nathan Paetsch, a two-time Calder Cup champion; prospect Jack Dougherty, who compiled a plus-15 rating this season; and prospect Brandon Hickey, who earned a coveted spot on Team Canada’s 2016 World Junior Championship squad.

Meanwhile, rookie ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson unleashes a shot Friday. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Tage Thompson thriving with Amerks

ROCHESTER – The numbers jump out at you. Through nine AHL appearances, Buffalo Sabres prospect Tage Thompson has already compiled seven goals and 10 points.

Sure, it’s a small sample size. But Thompson, 21, has often been a dynamic presence for the Americans since the Sabres sent him down March 28.

“We’re looking for him to be a big-time player for us,” Amerks coach Chris Taylor said following Saturday’s practice at Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex ... Read the full article

Toronto's Chris Mueller, a West Seneca native, tries to convert a chance in front of Rochester goalie Scott Wedgewood on Friday. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks can’t convert early chances, fall to Marlies in playoff opener

ROCHESTER – For the opening 25 minutes of Friday’s first-round playoff opener, the Americans blitzed the Toronto Marlies, beating goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo four times.

Of course, the puck never actually went in the net. The Amerks rattled it off the post or crossbar four times. They missed empty nets, a breakaway and pumped 15 shots on goal in the first period.

So instead of seizing a commanding lead, the Amerks let the Marlies hang around ... Read the full article

Kevin Dineen led the Sabres' AHL affiliate in Portland before moving up to coach Florida. ©2019, Hickling Images

Offering another chance to ex-head coach could benefit Sabres

BUFFALO – Coaches often evolve or reinvent themselves following their failures. Sometimes they swallow their pride to do it. They might return to junior hockey or the minors and start riding buses again. They might take an assistant or development job.

Remember that as general manager Jason Botterill searches for the Sabres’ sixth coach in barely six years after firing Phil Housley on April 7.

Sometimes the best candidates aren’t the names being bandied about. ... Read the full article

Jacob Bryson spent three years in college. ©2019, Providence College, Rich Gagnon

Sabres sign Jacob Bryson to entry-level contract

Less than a week after Jacob Bryson’s college career ended in Buffalo, the Sabres have signed the defense prospect to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced today.

Bryson, who spent three years at Providence College, will play the rest of this season with the Rochester Americans on an amateur tryout. His deal will kick in next year.

Providence lost to eventual champion Minnesota Duluth in Thursday’s semifinal of the Frozen Four at KeyBank ... Read the full article