(Amherst, NY) – Monday night’s matchup between the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and Georgetown Raiders lived up to the expectations: a dramatic duel between two teams both nationally ranked in Canadian Jr. “A” hockey and tied for first place in the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s West Division. Leading into Monday night’s game, the teams were 2-2 against each other in their regular season series, both winning once on the rival’s home ice, with this game settling the regular season series. Unfortunately for the host Jr. Sabres, an unlucky bounce in overtime resulted in the visiting Raiders grabbing a 3-2 win, plus the extra standings point that puts them in possession of first place for the moment.
The Raiders grabbed the game’s first lead within its first two minutes, as Jacob Bauchman scored the first of his two goals. Buffalo settled down and then tied the game in the second period on Nathan Pelligra’s goal at the 5:06 mark, assisted by Dylan Howatt.
Georgetown once again took the lead in the third period on Bauchman’s second goal of the game, coming at the 15:32 mark of the third period. Buffalo goaltender Parker Gahagen, who recorded 33 saves, made several key stops in the third period to keep his team in contention. With Gahagen pulled for the extra skater late in the game, Ryan Schmelzer’s goal with 30 seconds remaining forced the 2-2 tie and overtime.
Robbie Murden’s shot on goal in overtime at the 1:40 mark appeared to deflect either by a Jr. Sabres defenseman or Gahagen’s own pad, and proved to be the game winner.
Georgetown netminder Gabe Grunwald turned aside 19 of 21 Buffalo shots for the win.
Buffalo holds one game in hand over Georgetown and has an opportunity to regain first place when the Jr. Sabres travel to St. Michael’s on Friday.
Photo: Nathan Pelligra, who scored Buffalo’s first goal in the Jr. Sabres’ 3-2 overtime loss to Georgetown on Monday night. Courtesy Ken Czworka Photos.