(Oakville, ON) – The hosts overcame both an early 2-0 deficit and a two-goal effort by Buffalo’s Tim Kielich (in file photo), winning the first game of the Blades and Jr. Sabres’ OJHL Playoff second round series, 4-3 in overtime.
Rocky Gruttadauria opened the scoring at the 9:00 mark of the first period, assisted by Ryan Schmelzer and Mark Arnone. Later, at the 13:36 mark, Tim Kielich scored the first of his two goals, this one shorthanded. Max Mikowski got the assist.
Oakville rallied in the second period to tie the game at 2-2 with goals by Sean Federow and Liam Board. The hosts took the 3-2 lead in the third period when Chris Taylor scored at the 8:59 mark.
Buffalo pulled goalie Parker Gahagen late in the period for an extra skater and the move paid off with Kielich scoring his second goal with just 25 seconds remaining.
Todd Bannerman scored for the hosts in overtime, lifting Oakville to the 4-3 victory in Game One.
Gahagen made 33 saves while Oakville goalie James Prigione turned aside 32 Buffalo shots. Oakville outshot the Jr. Sabres 37 to 35, including nine shots to Buffalo’s eight in the extra session.
Game Two of this best-of-seven series will be held in Buffalo on Thursday, February 23 at 7:30pm inside the Northtown Center at Amherst.
NOTE: Shane Bennett served the first game of his two-game suspension tonight. Bennett was issued the ban as the result of his gross misconduct in the final game of the Hamilton series. He will complete his suspension by sitting out Game Two on Thursday night.