Jr. Sabres break for Christmas with 5-3 loss

(Milton, ON) – Perhaps that really was the Grinch spotted in the stands wearing a Milton jersey.  Buffalo’s 3-2 lead in the third period was taken away by a late Icehawks surge, and with an empty net goal added the hosts send Buffalo into the Christmas holiday on a 5-3 losing note.

Rocky Gruttadauria opened the scoring at the 2:06 mark of the first period.  Milton tied the game on Jonah Renouf’s goal and then took the lead in the second period on Joshua DeCosta’s tally.  Buffalo’s Tim Kielich evened the score and both teams headed into the second intermission tied at two goals apiece.

Ryan Schmelzer put the Junior Sabres in the lead at the 4:58 mark of the third.  But Milton rallied to erase that 3-2 lead and put Buffalo behind 4-3 on goals by Nikita Mandrik and Charles Williams.  With Jr. Sabres goalie Parker Gahagen pulled for an extra attacker, Milton added an empty netter to secure the 5-3 win.

Gahagen made 26 saves while his Icehawks counterpart Paul Favaro turned aside 31 Buffalo shots.

The Jr. Sabres are now off for Christmas and will return to game action on Thursday, December 29 at Brampton.