(Hamilton, ON) – The Buffalo Junior Sabres completed a sweep of the Hamilton Red Wings in the first round of the Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs, defeating their hosts 4-1 at the Dave Andreychuk Arena and taking the best-of-five series in three games.
Andrew Poturalski opened the scoring at the 7:30 mark of the first period, assisted by Jacob Ledyard and Tim Kielich. That was all the scoring until the 7:05 mark of the third period, when Luke Laidlaw tied up the game with his shortganded goal, assisted by Donovan Gardiner and Dalton Jay.
About a minute and a half later, though, Buffalo stormed back with Kollin Schultz’s power play goal, assisted by Rocky Gruttadauria and Ryan Schmelzer. Poturalski scored his second goal of the game at the 10:11 mark to increase the lead to 3-1.
Hamilton had one last opportunity to get back into the game when Gruttadauria was sent off for a head contact penalty with under two minutes remaining. Schmelzer, however, put the game out of reach by firing the puck into the empty net (assisted by Ledyard and Chris Luker).
Parker Gahagen once again stood tall in front of the Buffalo net, turning aside 31 Hamilton shots. Notably, the Jr. Sabres successfully killed all eight power play opportunities the Red Wings had.
Buffalo now advances to the second round against the Oakville Blades, who enjoyed a first-round bye thanks to their second place finish in the OJHL West Division. The schedule will be finalized and announced at a later date.