(Amherst, NY) – The Buffalo Junior Sabres earned a point in the standings, but that one point is all that’s keeping them in first place in the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s West Division. An opportunity to go two points ahead of second place Georgetown was squandered with a 4-3 loss to the Orangeville Flyers in the shootout Tuesday night at the Northtown Center at Amherst.
The Flyers scored within the first minute of the game when Mathew Thompson scored the first of his two goals. Buffalo responded about 30 seconds later when Tim Kielich (in file photo, courtesy OJHL Images) scored. Nolan Sheeran then put the Jr. Sabres into a 2-1 lead at the 2:06 mark. Orangeville’s Brandon Gaudette evened the score at the 18:45 mark of the first.
The Flyers then took the 3-2 lead at the 5:33 mark of the second period on Thompson’s second tally. Buffalo’s Ryan Schmelzer scored an unassisted goal just under six minutes into the third period to even the score at 3-3.
After overtime failed to produce a winner, it was on to the shootout. Buffalo’s shooters were all unsuccessful: Max Mikowski, Brian Ruff, Alex Dagnal and Dylan Howatt. Orangeville’s first three shooters were also unsuccessful, but Thomas Tsicos scored on his attempt and earned the visiting Flyers the 4-3 win and the extra point in the standings.
Buffalo goaltender Parker Gahagen stopped 24 shots.
Buffalo (29 combined wins, 11 losses, 4 shootout losses) next travels to Hamilton on Saturday night to face the Red Wings then returns home to the Northtown Center on Wednesday, January 23 against the Milton Icehawks.
Buffalo Jr. Sabres forward Tyler Gjurich, who leads both the team and the entire OJHL in scoring, will return to the lineup Saturday when the team travels to Hamilton. Gjurich completed a two-game suspension last night for a misconduct penalty issued in Georgetown on January 5. Gjurich leads all scorers with 38 goals and 25 assists in 42 games.