(Hamilton, ON) – With the Jr. Sabres’ recent slump, including a loss in Burlington yesterday, there came an opportunity for the Hamilton Red Wings to gain ground on Buffalo in the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s West Division standings. Buffalo, however, reached inside themselves and earned two very important points to grab a firmer hold of third place in the division. They did so with their 5-2 in at Hamilton on Monday night.
David Seward opened the scoring at the 10:51 mark of the first period, assisted by Josh Kielich and Kollin Schultz. Just under two minutes later, Ryan Schmelzer recorded his eighth point in his last ten games by scoring a goal and increasing Buffalo’s lead to 2-0. Jonas Fredrikkson and Derek Patterson assisted on Schmelzer’s tally.
Hamilton rallied very late in the period with two quick goals, the first by Luke Laidlaw and the second by Dalton Jay. But heading into the third period the Jr. Sabres regained the lead. Shane Bennett scored what proved to the game winner, assisted by Dennis Playfair and Alex Dagnal. Seward scored his second goal of the game on a power play at the 7:57 mark (assisted by Josh Kielich and Larry Smith). Max Mikowski completed the scoring with his goal just under one minute later, assisted by Schultz and Smith.
Parker Gahagen earned a victory in front of the Buffalo net, stopping 32 Hamilton shots. His counterpart, Hamilton’s Dalton McGrath, turned aside 32 of 27 Buffalo shots.
The third period was a penalty-filled affair. In all, including misconducts, the Jr. Sabres recorded 50 minutes in penalties while the host Red Wings tallied 46 minutes. Buffalo’s Matt Mahony is facing a suspension after committing a checking-from-behind penalty in the first period. Also awaiting further discipline is Hamilton’s Harrison Domagala, who committed a similar infraction in the third period.
With the win, Buffalo gains two points on Hamilton in the standings, holding third place in the OJHL West with 42 points. Hamilton, meanwhile, remains at 35 points.
The Jr. Sabres complete a busy “three in three” schedule with their third game in as many days at home on Tuesday, January 17, against the Huntsville Otters.