Zach Benson scored in his preseason debut. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres to give prospect Zach Benson look on top line

BUFFALO – Placing rookie Zach Benson on the top line with center Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner for tonight’s preseason game isn’t a reward, coach Don Granato said.

“He’s a good hockey player,” Granato said after the Sabres prepared for the Boston Bruins in KeyBank Center. “He’s earned it in the sense that he might only be 18 years old, but he’s developed himself enough to be able to keep up with those two in ... Read the full article

Nikita Novikov signed his entry-level contract in May. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Nikita Novikov turns heads in first games in Buffalo

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ leading scorer in the Prospects Challenge wasn’t Zach Benson, Jiri Kulich, Isak Rosen, Matt Savoie or another talented young forward.

No, try defenseman Nikita Novikov, who registered five assists, including three in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens in LECOM Harborcenter.

The Russian, 20, compiled three assists and five points in 62 games with the Kontinental Hockey League’s Moscow Dynamo all of last season.

The 6-foot-4, ... Read the full article

Tyson Kozak has started this season showcasing offense. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Tyson Kozak quietly emerging as one of Sabres’ best forward prospects

BUFFALO – Right away, Seth Appert noticed a difference in Tyson Kozak. The Sabres center prospect looks more confident and assertive this season.

“He’s not a loud person,” said Appert, Kozak’s coach with the Rochester Americans. “He lets his action speak more than his words. But I hear him on the ice more right now.”

If Kozak’s recent exploits offer any indication, Appert will also be seeing more of him on the ice. He ... Read the full article

Isak Rosen (wearing the ‘A’) and his teammates celebrate his second-period goal Saturday. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Viktor Neuchev, Zach Benson and Isak Rosen score, illustrate Sabres’ depth

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Viktor Neuchev scored in front early, converting center Tyson Kozak’s nifty backhand pass from behind the net. Winger Zach Benson followed minutes later, releasing a wicked shot from the left circle.

After the New Jersey Devils scored in the second period, winger Isak Rosen zoomed to the net unfettered, recording his second goal in as many nights.

The early goals in Saturday’s 4-2 win at the Prospects Challenge in LECOM Harborcenter ... Read the full article

Jiri Kulich warms up before Friday’s Prospects Challenge game. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

In Vaclav Prospal, Jiri Kulich has special mentor as he fights to make Sabres

BUFFALO – When Vaclav “Vinny” Prospal learned Sabres prospect Jiri Kulich trains in his hometown in Czechia during the summer, he headed to the local rink in Ceske Budejovice to introduce himself.

Prospal, one of the Rochester Americans’ new assistant coaches, ran into some of his former teammates, so he invited Kulich to his house for lunch to chat.

Having coached against Kulich and followed hockey closely, Prospal knew about the youngster’s lethal shot – ... Read the full article

Jiri Kulich spent all of last season in Rochester. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres’ 2023 Prospects Challenge roster features five first-round picks

Five first-round picks, including forwards Jiri Kulich and Matt Savoie, are among the 25 youngsters listed on the Buffalo Sabres’ roster for the upcoming Prospects Challenge rookie tournament.

Kulich and Savoie, two of the Sabres’ three first-round selections in 2022, are expected to compete for NHL spots during training camp.

The roster, released Tuesday, also features three other first-round picks: wingers Zach Benson and Isak Rosen and defenseman Ryan Johnson.... Read the full article

Rochester’s Sean Malone battles for position Saturday between Hershey’s Logan Day and goalie Hunter Shepard. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Rochester Amerks lose, fall behind to Hershey: ‘Tackle football out there’

ROCHESTER – After the Americans opened the AHL Eastern Conference finals by scoring another five goals, it felt like their offense might overwhelm another opponent.

In winning two Calder Cup Playoffs series, the Amerks averaged six goals a game in their six victories. They seemed to be picking up where they left off.

But in Games 2 and 3 against the Hershey Bears, the Amerks have been forced to play what coach Seth Appert called ... Read the full article

Jiri Kulich celebrates his first-period power-play goal Saturday. ©2023, Toronto Marlies

Jiri Kulich extends goal streak, six other Amerks score in win over Marlies

TORONTO – In his first taste of the Calder Cup Playoffs, Buffalo Sabres prospect Jiri Kulich has quickly morphed into the Rochester Americans’ offensive catalyst, scoring in each of his five games.

It’s no coincidence the Amerks, after Saturday afternoon’s 7-4 win over the Toronto Marlies in Game 2 of the AHL North Division final, are 5-0 with the rookie center in the lineup.

At just 19, Kulich is one game shy of tying the ... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut celebrates his overtime goal Saturday with Mitch Eliot (52) and Brett Murray (81). ©2023, Syracuse Crunch

Lawrence Pilut, Sabres prospects help Amerks advance in Calder Cup Playoffs

SYRACUSE – Seth Appert walked into the dressing room after the Rochester Americans imploded and blew a three-goal lead to the Crunch and told his team take a breath, calm down, and that they would win.

Usually, the coach waits to address his players. But on Saturday, with a do-or-die overtime to decide the AHL North Division semifinal ahead, he wanted to reinforce his belief in them. Later in the intermission, he reminded them their ... Read the full article

Jiri Kulich (left) celebrates his goal Sunday with Ethan Prow. ©2023, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Jiri Kulich stars again as Amerks roar back to tie series

ROCHESTER – Before the Americans began the Calder Cup Playoffs, coach Seth Appert told rookie Jiri Kulich to prepare for his first taste of postseason hockey as a pro.

So Appert had Kulich, 19, watch a Stanley Cup Playoffs game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning. Then Appert challenged the Buffalo Sabres prospect to study the action as he sat out the Amerks’ first two games recovering from a lower-body injury.

“You ... Read the full article