HERSHEY, Pa. (WIVB) — As the Rochester Americans continue their quest for the Calder Cup, they’ll get a boost from one of the Sabres’ highest-touted prospects.
Forward Matt Savoie, who was drafted ninth overall by Buffalo in 2022, will make his AHL debut Thursday night in Game 2 of the Conference Finals against the Hershey Bears. Rochester currently leads the best-of-seven series 1-0 after a 5-1 win on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old Savoie will add more youth to an Amerks squad headlined by fellow recent Sabres first-round picks Isak Rosen and Jiri Kulich, who are both having strong postseasons. His linemates for Thursday’s game have not yet been revealed.
“I expect him to be excited to play, he’s pumped,” Amerks head coach Seth Appert said of Savoie following Thursday’s morning skate. “He’s just such a tremendous competitor … I’m expecting him to play an extremely strong game. I’m expecting him to use that pace and that competitiveness to his advantage. If he plays that style, he’ll have the puck a lot.”
Savoie was assigned to Rochester on Sunday after finishing his season with the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL.
The 5-foot-9, 179-pound center was phenomenal in Winnipeg this season, posting 38 goals and 95 points in the regular season. He followed that up with a strong postseason, tallying 11 goals and 29 points in 19 games.
While Savoie is eligible to play for the Amerks this postseason, he will not be able to suit up for Rochester in the 2023-24 regular season. An agreement between the NHL and CHL makes players suiting up for their junior clubs ineligible to play for AHL and ECHL teams until they are 20 years old (with the cutoff date for a player to turn 20 being Dec. 31). Savoie was born on Jan. 1, 2004, missing the cutoff by one day, which means he will either return to Winnipeg next season or play for the Sabres if he makes the roster.
Puck drop for Game 2 between Rochester and Hershey is slated for 7 p.m. and can be watched throughout New York State on MSG Network.
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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.