CAMP UPDATES: FOLIGNO SCORES TWICE, TROPP MAKES RETURN TO NHLNews | 9/18/2013 10:31:47 AM | Warren Kosel
Another preseason game for the Buffalo Sabres, another win.
For the second straight game, the Sabres relied heavily on the help of several key players who each spent time with the Rochester Americans in the 2012-13 season. Third-year forward Marcus Foligno scored twice, including a highlight reel goal for the game-winner, and Mikhail Grigorenko added another to propel Buffalo to a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.
Foligno, who was also facing his older brother, Nick, in the contest, finished with a game-high four shots and led all Sabre forwards with a 20:41 of ice time. Goaltender Matt Hackett made his second straight appearance for the Sabres, earning the win after stopping all nine shots in 28:45 of action to push Buffalo to a 2-0-0 record on the young preseason.
Named Rochester’s Rookie of the Year for the 2011-12 campaign, Foligno played on the top line with former Amerk forwards Cody Hodgson and Thomas Vanek, Buffalo’s top two scorers from last season. It’s a situation, Foligno says, that demands a step up in his game and one that he’s certainly ready for.
“Those are two great players and you have to elevate your game. You want the coaches to see you can keep up with those guys and play with them,” Foligno told Sabres.com following last night’s win. “So it was an honor to play with those guys and that’s how I feel. I feel like I can play with those guys and to be on a line with them is something I want for myself.”
Foligno staked the Sabres to a 1-0 advantage late in the opening frame when he deflected Tyler Meyers’ slap-pass from the right point past Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky. R.J. Umberger would respond for Columbus early in the second period, but Foligno restored Buffalo’s lead later in the period with a spectacular individual effort to make it a 2-1 game.
After picking off a pass attempt by Patrick McNeil, Foligno cut in on goal from the right face-off circle. With shades of Bobby Orr, he dived through the crease headfirst and put the puck in on the far side, past the outstretched right pad of Bobrovsky.
“That’s where I think most of the goals are scored in the NHL,” Foligno said. “It’s something where you just have to get to the paint and going hard to the net will result in a good scoring chance.”
Grigorenko, who didn’t join the Amerks until the final two games of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs last season, provided an insurance tally midway through the third to secure win for Buffalo.
Assisting on Grigorenko’s lone goal was forward Corey Tropp, who saw his first NHL game since April 5, 2012. Tropp returned from a serious knee injury he sustained in Rochester’s Home Opener last season that kept him out of action for 72 games. Tropp closed out the night with one shot on goal over 15:52 of ice time, including 2:23 on the power-play.
Coming off his two-goal outing against Montreal on Sunday night, Zemgus Girgensons also recorded an assist for the Sabres, bringing his preseason point total to three (2+1).
Other players who suited up for Buffalo in Columbus that spent time in Rochester last season included Johan Larsson, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Matt Ellis and Brayden McNabb. Veteran forward Jamie Tardif, who scored 30 goals last season with the Providence Bruins, also made his preseason debut for the Sabres.
Buffalo looks to make it 3-0-0 in the preseason as it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes in its first home exhibition tilt on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the First Niagara Center. Game time is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start. Other preseason home games are scheduled for Sept. 21 (vs. Toronto) and a second go-around vs. Columbus scheduled for Sept. 25.
Rochester’s lone home preseason game is set for Wednesday, Sept. 25 versus the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex. General admission tickets ($5.00) are available at the Bill Gray’s Iceplex front desk and at the Amerks front office.