(North York, ON) – The Buffalo Jr. Sabres’ season is over, after falling in Game Six of their second round OJHL playoff series to the North York Rangers, 2-1 in double overtime. But for a second or two in the first overtime, it looked like Buffalo had successfully forced Game Seven.
That’s when Pat Egan put the puck over the arm of Rangers goalie Jason Pucciarelli. However, the officials disallowed it, ruling that the net had become dislodged just before the puck entered the net.
Play resumed and continued through one overtime. Then in the second extra session, Corey Kalk slipped the puck past Parker Gahagen, who in spite of the loss put in one of the most impressive performances of his Jr. Sabres career, stopping 62 shots. Gahagen will enroll at West Point next academic year and continue his hockey career at Army.
North York opened the scoring at the 10:48 mark of the second period with Franco Loparco’s goal. Buffalo’s Ryan Schmelzer evened the score at the 9:42 mark of the third period. That’s all the offense until Kalk became the overtime hero.
While the Jr. Sabres’ playoff runs ends disappointingly short, the team is looking back on numerous accomplishments and firsts: Their first-ever first place finish in the OJHL, a national ranking by the Canadian Junior Hockey League, at least seven players who have secured NCAA college hockey opportunities as of March 22, the team’s first 50-plus goal scorer (Tyler Gjurich) since Brian Gionta in 1996-97, seven shutouts by goalie Parker Gahagen including three consecutive shutouts at home, two OJHL Player of the Month awards (Gjurich & Schmelzer) and a Goalie of the Month honor (Gahagen), plus at least three postseason honors (Michael Peca was named both Coach and Executive of the Year while Jack Williams was named Trainer of the Year).
It should be noted Gjurich remains a strong candidate to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award, which will be announced later in the playoffs.
The team will begin preparations for the 2013-14 season with tryouts, beginning April 26.
Photo: Corey Kalk (#15) plays the puck while Buffalo’s Sean Federow (#27) and Tyler Gjurich look on. Kalk would later score the series winning goal in double overtime. Photo courtesy OJHL Images.