So far in the early stages of this season, overtime has been a best friend of the Buffalo Junior Sabres. Saturday night in Oakville the extra session turned against the blue and gold. But most frustrating to the coaching staff is that this game should never have gone to the extra session in the first place.
Brad Kobryn opened the scoring in the first period and gave the host Blades the early lead, but Rocky Gruttadauria responded with the game-tying goal at the 8:41 mark of the first period. Todd Bannerman restored Oakville’s lead just shy of the 16 minute mark, and the Blades carried their 2-1 lead into the intermission.
Buffalo rallied in the second period, tied the game on Shane Bennett’s goal then took the 3-2 lead on Joe Johnson’s tally. Heading into the third period, penalty calls were flying in both directions, and Buffalo increased their lead to 4-2 on Bennett’s second goal of the game, this one on the power play.
Oakville, which was outshooting Buffalo the entire evening, got the calls going their way later in the period and took advantage. Tyler Karius’ power play goal cut the lead to 4-3. Then the refs awarded Oakville a penalty shot on Kollin Schultz’s tripping call, and Martin Kudla scored on his opportunity to force a 4-4 tie with just under two minutes remaining in regulation.
Phil Hampton completed the Oakville comeback at the 3:19 mark of overtime, leaving Buffalo with one point for the standings but wondering how they let the second one get away.
The Jr. Sabres’ Parker Gahagen was the busier of the two goalies, turning aside 46 or Oakville’s 51 shots.
The Jr. Sabres return home for their next game, Monday night at 7:30, against the Aurora Tigers.