Jr. Sabres open season with 4-3 OT win

(Amherst, NY) – Mark Arnone’s power play goal with 1:44 remaining in overtime lifted the Buffalo Junior Sabres to a season opening 4-3 victory over the Newmarket Hurricanes.  Buffalo erased a 3-1 lead in the third period before completing their comeback on a major penalty power play.

Newmarket opened the scoring at 2:54 of the first period when Jake Weidner muscled the puck away from Buffalo’s Jake Ledyard and fired a wrist shot past Jr. Sabres goalie Parker Gahagen.  Newmarket built their lead to 2-0 at 8:50 of the second period on a power play goal.  With Buffalo’s Ryan Schmelzer in the penalty box for a tripping call, Morgan Bonner’s shot caught the edge of Gahagen’s glove but beat the downed goalie for the goal.

Schmelzer made amends for his costly penalty by scoring the Jr. Sabres’ first goal at 10:41 of the second.  After carrying the puck out of the corner, Schmelzer deked a Newmarket defenseman and then beat Hurricanes goalie Matthew Wintjes.

Penalties again proved costly for Buffalo as Chris Chiste scored on Newmarket’s second consecutive power play at 12:38 of the second to restore the Hurricanes’ two-goal lead.

With the third period came Buffalo’s comeback.  Shane Bennett’s low shot found its way past Wintjes and, at 2:42 into the period, cut the lead to one as Newmarket led 3-2.  Penalties, which worked in Newmarket’s favor earlier in the contest, were now working against them.  With David Savery serving a hooking penalty, Max Mikowski got his stick on the rebound from Jake Ledyard’s shot and tied the game at the 10:58 mark.

While he was coming to the defense of a teammate who had just been hit by Buffalo’s Kollin Schultz, Newmarket’s Matt Dineen let his emotions go too far as he dropped the gloves and started throwing punches at Schultz, who kept his gloves on and made an effort to skate away and avoid a fight.  This resulted in Dineen receiving a total of 7 minutes in penalties, 2 for instigating and 5 for fighting.  Newmarket kept Buffalo on their toes with a late period rally but the game ended a 3-3 tie in regulation.

Buffalo remained at a man advantage and even got a two-man power play in overtime but a tough Newmarket squad, whose forwards showed excellence in forechecking and defensive play all evening, prevented Buffalo from utllizing the two-man advantage.  Finally, Mark Arnone held back at the point while action was unfolding in front of the Newmarket net, got the puck and fired in the game-winning goal.

The Jr. Sabres next play the Oakville Blades at the Northtown Center at Amherst, Tuesday at 7:30pm.