(Amherst, NY) – Heading into their final home games of the 2012 OJHL regular season, the Buffalo Junior Sabres had not beaten the Oakville Blades. That changed last night, as Buffalo was boosted by two Shane Bennett goals to down the visiting Blades, 5-2.
Andrew Poturalski opened the scoring for Buffalo with his 16th goal of the season, assisted by Ryan Schmelzer and Jacob Ledyard. Later in the period, on the power play, Bennett scored his first goal of the night, assisted by Chris Luker and Rocky Gruttadauria.
Oakville got on the scoreboard at the 5:33 mark of the second period on Ashton Anderson’s goal, but 19 seconds later Gruttadauria responded for the Jr. Sabres to restore the hosts’ two-goal lead. Bennett scored his second goal at the 12:46 mark on an unassisted shorthanded breakaway. With just over two minutes remaining in the period, Derek Patterson built Buffalo’s lead to 5-1 with his goal scored off a wrister from the point.
The Blades’ Martin Kudla scored in the third to cut the lead to 5-2 and goaltender James Prigione, who relieved starter Michael Stiliadis at the start of the third, turned aside all 14 shots he faced. Buffalo, meanwhile, prevented an always hustling Oakville side from getting back into the contest and secured the win.
Buffalo goaltender Parker Gahagen stopped 23 of 25 Blades shots, while Stiliadis made 23 saves on 28 Buffalo shots.
The Junior Sabres travel to Milton on Friday then Georgetown on Saturday to complete their regular season schedule. They’ll host Game One of their first-rouind playoff series on Monday night at the Northtown Center at 6:30pm against an opponent that has yet to be determined.
NOTES: Former junior franchise player Kevyn Adams, now an assistant coach with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, dropped a ceremonial faceoff puck to mark Alumni Night. Up to 50 former players from the Jr. Sabres, Buffalo Lightning and Niagara Scenics eras were in attendance. The alumni shared food, drinks… and stories… at a reception following the game.