Following a successful regular season, the Buffalo Jr. Sabres will host the North York Rangers in the first round of the Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs.
Playoffs begin on Wednesday, March 2 as Buffalo was awarded home ice for the first-round series. The Jr. Sabres finished the regular season fourth in the South West Conference with a record of 33-17-1-3 and 70 points.
The Jr. Sabres swept the season series against North York, outscoring the Rangers 21-13.
Buffalo also outshot the Rangers in every game for a combined total of 154 shots over the four games, compared to North York’s 110.
The first game of the season between the Jr. Sabres and Rangers was a rough one with a combined 91 penalty minutes. However, as the season went on, the teams were more disciplined against each other and stayed out of the penalty boxes.
Keegan Blasby and Ted Hunt each had seven points against Buffalo this season, while Gianluca Baggetta appeared in all four games and is likely the Rangers’ playoff netminder to start. Baggetta overall allowed 18 goals on 151 shots faced against the Jr. Sabres.
Eighteen Jr. Sabres skaters registered at least a point in the regular season against North York this season, led by a slew of players with six points each.
Jr. Sabres captain Zach Evancho had a pair of goals and four assists against the Rangers, as did forward David Baskerville. Chris Berger had a goal and five assists, while Tim Nicksic registered four goals and two assists against North York.
Tucker Weppner took on the majority of the goaltending duties versus North York and stopped 44 of 48 shots faced in two and a half games. Brian Kowalski stopped 53 of 61 shots faced against the Rangers this season.
Of course, in the end — none of that matters now. The playoffs are a whole new game, and anything can happen.
The Jr. Sabres open the playoffs on March 2 with a 7:30 pm puck drop at HARBORCENTER’s First Niagara Rink. Game two will be the following night, March 3, at 8 pm, also at HARBORCENTER.
Below is the full schedule for the first round of the OJHL playoffs between Buffalo and North York:
GAME 1 – MARCH 2 – 7:30 PM @ HARBORCENTER
GAME 2 – MARCH 3 – 8 PM @ HARBORCENTER
GAME 3 – MARCH 6 – 3 PM @ NORTH YORK
GAME 4 – MARCH 8 – 8 PM @ NORTH YORK
*GAME 5 (IF NEEDED) – MARCH 10 – 8 PM @ HARBORCENTER
*GAME 6 (IF NEEDED) – MARCH 13 – 3 PM @ NORTH YORK
*GAME 7 (IF NEEDED) – MARCH 14 – 7:30 PM @ HARBORCENTER
OJHL fans can also catch all playoff games broadcast live on FASTHockey.