ORANGEVILLE, ON – The Buffalo Jr. Sabres came close to giving away a four-goal lead to the Orangeville Flyers, but did just enough to escape with a 6-4 victory to wrap up the regular season.
Buffalo, which clinched the Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division title the previous day in Aurora, led by four goals at one point but held off the Flyers for the victory. The largest advantage in the game came when the Jr. Sabres’ Max Mikowski scored at 15:39 in the second period to put Buffalo up 5-1.
Mikowski had a great game for the Jr. Sabres, netting two goals.
Buffalo managed to stay out of the box better than usual, finishing with one minor for two minutes in penalty time. The Jr. Sabres ended up below its season average of 13.0 penalty minutes per game. Orangeville was unable to stop Buffalo from sending pucks towards the net, and the Jr. Sabres eventually piled up 42 shots on goal.
Buffalo also got points from Ryan Schmelzer, who also registered one goal and two assists. Others who scored for Buffalo included Daniel Lafontaine, Josh Gabriel, and Pat Egan, who each put in one. In addition, Buffalo received assists from Jason Heerdt, who had one and Dennis Gilbert, Michael Ederer, and Ryan Kuhn, who contributed two a piece.
The Flyers’ offense rang up 34 shots on Buffalo’s net.
Orangeville was led by Lucas Smilsky, who racked up one goal and one assist. Smilsky scored 17:25 into the third period to make the score 5-3 Buffalo. Connor Stack picked up the assist. Orangeville also had goals scored by Jake Derkach, Austin Kozluk, and Nick Connell, who scored one goal each. More assists for Orangeville came via Colin Rigney, Ryan Anton, and Wyatt Weppler, who each chipped in one.
The Jr. Sabres’ Brandon Mueller stopped 30 shots out of the 34 that he faced. Buffalo registered two goals on five power play opportunities. Wyatt Pickrell rejected 36 shots on goal for the Flyers. Orangeville incurred 10 minutes in penalty time with five minors. The Flyers ran into serious disciplinary problems during the contest, and Emmerson Small was ejected from the game.
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Photo: Jr. Sabres goaltender Brandon Mueller. Courtesy OJHL Images.