The Buffalo Jr. Sabres broke a three-game losing streak with a decisive 5-2 victory over the Milton IceHawks on November 27.
A quick-moving game was, at least initially, light on offense, with the teams combining for just four shots on goal in the first ten minutes of play.
Things broke open when Nick Alfieri potted his fifth of the season to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead with 8:32 to play in the first period. Christian DiFelice and Ryan Fritz notched assists on the opening goal.
The Jr. Sabres held onto their one-goal lead, in part thanks to several strong saves from goaltending Tucker Weppner. The team then went up by a pair late in the first, with Matt Buchbinder scoring his fourth of the season and first of the night with 1:12 to play. Altieri and DiFelice registered assists.
Buchbinder added another nearly seven minutes into the third period to give his team a 3-0 lead, but moments later, the IceHawks came got one back. Noah Robinson was credited with the goal, which came just 15 seconds after Buchbinder’s.
Though the penalty boxes had remained mostly empty through forty minutes, all of that changed in the third period.
Just 34 seconds in, Milton’s Chris Taylor went to the box on a roughing call; his teammate Lucas Kells soon joined him on a holding penalty.
With a 5-on-3 advantage, Buffalo took the opportunity to take a 4-1 lead. Adam Tretowicz scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season, with Erik Urbank and Andrew Pizzo registering assists.
The penalties kept coming, with one player after the other heading to the box on either side.
Eventually, Buffalo’s Billy McGwin was sent off with 1:02 to play, served a boarding minor and a 10-minute misconduct. The IceHawks used that man advantage to tally their second goal of the night; the goal was Taylor’s, assisted by Josh Retainer and Justin Paul.
It wasn’t enough to start a comeback for Milton, however. The IceHawks pulled their netminder, and Buffalo’s Ryan Cox sealed the win with an empty-netter with 0.7 seconds to play.
Tucker Weppner had 24 saves in the win and was awarded third star. Nick Altieri (1-1) was named second star, while Matt Buchbinder (2-0) earned first-star honors.
Milton netminder Will Rawski was credited with 46 saves in the loss.
Next up, the Jr. Sabres hit the road to face the Oakville Blades on Saturday, December 3 before hosting the Toronto Patriots the following night.