(Amherst, NY) – Leading up to Tuesday night’s matchup at the Northtown Center at Amherst, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens had won four of their last five outings including a victory at Georgetown which did the Buffalo Jr. Sabres a big favor in the race for first place in the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s West Division. Also assured postseason play, Toronto was seeking to make another statement that they could be a very dangerous team in the playoffs.
Buffalo had their backs to the wall for portions of the game but erased three Toronto leads then took a third period lead that held, as the Jr. Sabres stopped the Jr. Canadiens, 4-3.
Danny Liscio opened the scoring for Toronto midway through the first period. Buffalo’s Tyler Gjurich (file photo courtesy Ken Czworka) responded with a tying goal midway through the second period, his 46th of the season, assisted by Ryan Schmelzer and David Seward. Moments later, Jordan Carvalho put the Jr. Habs back in the lead at the 12:47 mark but Buffalo then took advantage of a power play, with Sean Federow tying the game at 2-2 at the 14:46 mark with his 10th goal of the season. Federow’s goal was assisted by Schmelzer and Ben Casale.
Once again, Toronto responded quickly to regain the lead as Robert Cammalleri put the visitors ahead, 3-2, at the 15:31 mark.
Buffalo rallied in the third period and used another power play opportunity to tie the game at 3-3 when Pat Egan scored his 25th goal of the season at the 4:02 mark, assisted by Nolan Sheeran and Dylan Howatt. Then at the 11:26 mark, Egan set up Gjurich’s 47th goal of the season and what proved to be the game winner.
Parker Gahagen stopped 19 Toronto shots to earn the victory while Denny Dubblestyne turned aside 25 Buffalo shots.
With the victory, the Jr. Sabres move back into first place in the OJHL West, leading the Georgetown Raiders by just one point with one game in hand. Buffalo next travels to St. Michael’s on Friday to face the Buzzers in a game rescheduled from last Friday, when a snowstorm led the OJHL to postpone all games that night.
Prior to the start of Tuesday night’s game, Ryan Schmelzer was presented his OJHL Gongshow Gear South-West Player of the Month Award for the month of January. Presenting Schmelzer with his award was OJHL Director of Hockey Operations Brent Garbutt, who was making his second appearance at the Northtown Center for such a ceremony. Back in December, Garbutt and league commissioner Marty Savoy honored Tyler Gjurich and Parker Gahagen for the honors they received for the month of November.