(Burlington, ON) – The Buffalo Jr. Sabres hoped to gain on the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s West Division leading Burlington Cougars on Saturday night, but the host Cougars held back a late Buffalo surge and handed the Jr. Sabres a 5-4 defeat at Wave Twin Rinks.
Joe Sullivan opened the scoring for the hosts with the first of two first-period goals. Pat Egan (in photo) responded for Buffalo with his fifth goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1. Buffalo then took a 2-1 lead on Alex Dagnal’s seventh goal of the season but Sullivan ‘s second goal even the contest.
In the second period, Buffalo was able to complete a 5-on-3 penalty kill then at the 9:33 mark, with just one second left on Dave Seward’s holding penalty, Shane Conacher scored to lift the Cougars into the lead, 3-2.
A miscue in their own end proved costly to the Jr. Sabres just 29 seconds in, as Cooper Richards built Burlington’s lead to 4-2. Tyler Mayea made it 5-2 Burlington at the 6:38 mark. The game turned more chippy, but it was Burlington seeing more trips to the penalty box.
Buffalo’s Tyler Gjurich scored two goals late in the period to cut the Cougars’ lead to 5-4, one of the goals coming on the power play. Hoping to force the tie, Buffalo pulled goalie Parker Gahagen from the net for an extra skater, but a feisty forecheck by the Cougars helped keep the Jr. Sabres at bay and prevent the tie.
The Jr. Sabres (6 wins, 3 losses, 1 shootout loss) will be back in action Sunday afternoon, beginning at 3:00pm at the Herbert Carnegie Centennial Centre against the North York Rangers, who have defeated Buffalo twice this season including last Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout decided contest at the Northtown Center at Amherst.
The Jr. Sabres will be without the services of forward Tim Kielich and Tony DeVito for at least a game, as both were ejected for major checking-from-behind penalties in the first period of the game. Buffalo also lost Alex Dagnal to an apparent knee injury in the second period. No further details were immediately available about his condition.
Buffalo Jr. Sabres goaltender Parker Gahagen finished second in voting for the OJHL’s Gongshow Gear Goaltender of the Month for September. Receiving the honor was Matthew Wintjes of the Newmarket Hurricanes, who posted a 6-1-1 record and 1.87 goals against average. Gahagen posted a 6-1 record, including a shutout on opening night at the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, as well as a 2.71 goals against average.