MISSISSAUGA, ON – After a faulty Zamboni forced the postponement of Mississauga’s first playoff game of the series in Port Credit Arena last weekend, the Chargers finally got to play at home Wednesday night and made the most of it, roaring past the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 8-3, to cut Buffalo’s series lead to 2-1 in their first-round Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff series.
Thomas Lattavo put the hosts ahead at the 2:24 mark of the first period. It looked, however, like Buffalo might again take charge when it took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Nolan Sheeran first tied the score 1-1 with his shorthanded tally at the 4:30 mark, folllowed by Ryan Schmelzer’s go-ahead goal at the 13:01 mark.
The Chargers evened the score and then regained the lead in the second period on two goals from Ayrton Valente (in photo, courtesy OJHL Images). The first came on the power play at the 1:16 mark with the go-ahead goal coming at 4:59. Buffalo’s Dylan Gamble scored to even the game at 3-3 but the Chargers took command from there, with team captain Trevor Waarnar scoring twice. His first goal, what proved to be the game winner, came at the 9:20 mark of the second while his second of the game came on the power play at tht 15:00 mark.
Valente completed his hat trick just 21 seconds into the third period. Lucas Venuto scored at the 3:50 mark while Lattavo rounded out the scoring midway through the final period.
Both goaltenders were kept busy with Mississauga’s Austin Washkurak stopping 49 Buffalo shots for the win. The Jr. Sabres’ Joseph Pianta turned aside 37 Charger shots.
The series returns to Buffalo on Thursday night for Game Four at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Parking is free of charge in the ramp adjacent to the arena.
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Photo: Ayrton Valente, seen in action earlier in the series, scored a hat trick Wednesday to lead Mississauga to an 8-3 win in Game Three of their first round OJHL Playoff series vs. Buffalo. The Jr. Sabres lead the series, 2-1. Photo by Timothy Ludwig, OJHL Images.