Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550/WBEN) - The Buffalo Sabres continued their winning ways at the 2023 Sabres Prospects Challenge on Saturday with a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils at Harborcenter.
The Sabres opened the scoring on Saturday as 2022 third-round pick Viktor Neuchev was the benefactor of Tyson Kozak winning a puck battle in-behind the Devils net. Kozak was able to retrieve the puck and feed Neuchev, who was left uncontested in front of Devils goalie Isaac Poulter.
Nearly three minutes later, the Sabres added to their lead with a goal from 2023 first-round pick Zach Benson, who used winger Filip Cederqvist as a decoy on a 2-on-1 rush and wired a quick shot past Poulter for the two-goal lead.
Despite leading 2-0 through the opening 20 minutes of play, the Sabres trailed the Devils in shots, 8-5, but put up a number of quality scoring opportunities.
Just past the six-minute mark of the second period, Sabres goalie Josh Fleming kept the Devils off the board with a huge breakaway save on Devils forward Jace Isley, who was looking to cash in on a giveaway by defenseman Norwin Panocha.
However, the Devils catch the Sabres on a long shift and manage to score their first goal of the evening, courtesy of forward T.J. Friedman. New Jersey was able to generate a 4-on-2 rush into the Buffalo zone, and Friedman was able to beat Fleming on a second rebound chance.
After some pressure from the Devils for a majority of the second period, the Sabres were able to re-gain their two-goal advantage thanks to a goal off the rush by pick Isak Rosen. The 2021 first-round was able to carry the puck into the zone and used a quick release to beat Poulter for his second goal of the tournament.
The Devils controlled much of the pace of play in the middle stanza, but only managed one goal on nine shots compared to Buffalo's four shots.
Buffalo increased its lead to three goals nearing the halfway point of the third period, as 2022 first-round pick Jiri Kulich was able to squeeze a backhander through the arm of Poulter and in for his second goal of the tournament.
The Devils managed to add another goal in garbage time courtesy of forward Brian Halonen, but the Sabres ended up coming away victorious in a 4-2 final score.
Follow along with all the game action below:
BUF: 4:59 - Viktor Neuchev (1) (Tyson Kozak, Nicolas Savoie); 7:49 - Zach Benson (1) (Nicolas Savoie)
BUF: 16:08 - Isak Rosen (2) (Nikita Novikov, Norwin Panocha)
NJD: 9:41 - T.J. Friedman (1) (Erik Middendorf, Will MacKinnon)
BUF: 8:16 - Jiri Kulich (2) (Isak Rosen, Norwin Panocha)
NJD: 19:45 - Brian Halonen (1) (Will MacKinnon, Xavier Parent)
BUF: 11:26 - Zach Benson (Tripping - 2 min.)
BUF: 13:14 - Filip Cederqvist (Tripping - 2 min.); 13:33 - Norwin Panocha (Tripping - 2 min.); 16:20 - Olivier Nadeau (Tripping - 2 min.); Dominick Mersch (Fighting - 5 min.)
NJD: 12:09 - Jace Isley (Hooking - 2 min.); 19:57 - Will MacKinnon (Fighting - 5 min.)
Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Josh Fleming - BUF
2.) Isak Rosen - BUF
3.) Jiri Kulich - BUF
The Sabres will wrap their 2023 Prospects Challenge late Monday afternoon night at Harborcenter against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Faceoff is set for 5 p.m. ET and can be heard on our sister station, The Bet 1520.