Archive for January, 2015search

Sabres Start Post All-Star Break Schedule With Visit To Western Canada To Take on Johnny Hockey And The Calgary Flames 9:00 PM(MSG HD, Bell TV, WGR 550)

 @  9:00 PM

Last Game: 

Buffalo: January 18th @ Red Wings Loss 6-4

Calgary: January 21st @ Ducks Loss 6-3



Buffalo: 14-30-3

Calgary: 25-19-3



Buffalo: 31

Calgary: 53


Rank In Conference:

Buffalo: 16th(8th in Atlantic)

Calgary: 8th(4th in Pacific)


Goals For:

Buffalo: 83(30th)

Calgary: 133(T-10th)


Goals Against:

Buffalo: 166(30th)

Calgary: 124(T-17th)


Power Play Rankings:

Buffalo: 9.9%(30th)

Calgary: 16.5%(23rd)


Penalty Kill Rankings:

Buffalo: 73.8%(30th)

Calgary: 77.0%(26th)


Shots For:

Buffalo: 1084(30th)

Calgary: 1271(26th)


Shots Against:

Buffalo: 1649(30th)

Calgary: 1322(12th)


Face-Off Percentage:

Buffalo: 45.3%(30th)

Calgary: 46.8%(28th)



Buffalo: 1263(T-11th)

Calgary: 1039(18th)


Blocked Shots:

Buffalo: 851(2nd)

Calgary: 871(1st)


Team Leaders:


Buffalo: Girgensons(13), Ennis(12), Moulson and Stafford(7), Stewart(6)

Calgary: Monahan(15), Hudler(14), Gaudreau(13), Wideman(12)



Buffalo: Ennis(16), Stafford(15), Moulson(13), Girgensons and Stewart(9)

Calgary: Giordano(29), Hudler(25), Gaudreau(22), Brodie(21)



Buffalo: Ennis(28), Girgensons and Stafford(22), Moulson(20), Stewart(15)

Calgary: Giordano(40), Hudler(39), Gaudreau(35), Monahan(30)



Buffalo: Pysyk, Armia, and Dalpe(EV), Reinhart, Schaller, and Larsson(-1), Ellis(-2), Varone(-4)

Calgary: Brodie(+23), Giordano(+19), Hudler(+13), Gaudreau(+11)


Penalty Minutes:

Buffalo: Myers(51), Deslauriers(50), Stewart(47), Weber(45)

Calgary: Bollig(42), Engelland(37), Giordano(31), Glencross(30)



Buffalo: Ennis(113), Moulson(88), Girgensons(85), Stewart(82)

Calgary: Monahan(118), Giordano(115), Gaudreau(97), Wideman(96)


Face-Off Wins:

Buffalo: Girgensons(340), Mitchell(170), McCormick(147), Hodgson(142)

Calgary: Monahan(517), Jooris(186), Stajan(165), Backlund(160)



Buffalo: Deslauriers(152), Weber(94), Girgensons(93), Foligno(92)

Calgary: Bouma(151), Bollig and Glencross(88), Byron(79), Engelland(75)


Blocked Shots:

Buffalo: Gorges(127), Weber(84), Myers(76), Ristolainen(70)

Calgary: Russell(143), Wideman(111), Giordano(100), Brodie(96)


Tonight’s Projected Lines:


Sabres Forward Lines:






Sabres Defense Pairings:





Flames Forward Lines:






Flames Defense Pairings:





Tonight’s Starting Goaltending Matchup:

Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 31 GP 11-17-2 3.41 GAA .899 SV% 1 SO

Calgary: Jonas Hiller 30 GP 13-13-2 2.47 GAA .911 SV% 1 SO



Last Meeting: December 11th Sabres Won 4-3

Season Series: Sabres Lead 1-0-0-0

All-Time: Sabres Lead 49-34-16-1-0

All-Time vs CGY: Flames Lead 21-18-11-0-0


Upcoming Matchups:


Last Game’s Recap:


Zetterberg’s Hat Trick Leads Wings Past Sabres


Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock emphasizes being ready from the opening faceoff. One of his regular sayings is, “Get started on time.”


The Red Wings didn’t do that on Sunday, but they made up for it.


Henrik Zetterberg had three goals and an assist for his sixth career hat trick and Detroit rallied for a 6-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena.


The Red Wings trailed 3-0 after the first period, but scored five consecutive goals.


“Obviously we were embarrassed. That was as bad as we’ve been,” Babcock said. “It wasn’t totally a surprise to me. This was a trap game. We’ve played two real good teams (St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators) in a row and found ways to win. It’s a back-to-back (Detroit beat Nashville 5-2 on Saturday), so you don’t have time to get in here and get organized and feeling good about yourself. You don’t prepare like you should.”


Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist had a goal and an assist each and Drew Miller scored for Detroit (26-11-9).


“They were hungrier and won all the battles,” Zetterberg said. “We knew we had to play better to turn it around and obviously we got a good start in the next 40 minutes.”


Petr Mrazek allowed three goals on seven shots before being pulled with 6:23 left in the first period. Tom McCollum replaced him and made seven saves for his first career win.


“I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s obviously not the way I imagined it would happen, but it’s a great feeling,” said McCollum, Detroit’s first-round pick (No. 30) at the 2008 NHL Draft. “I’m just happy with the team that turned it around and really turned it around after I got in there.”


Tyler Ennis had two goals and an assist and Drew Stafford and Chris Stewart scored for Buffalo (14-30-3), which lost its 11th straight in regulation. Nikita Zadorov had two assists and Jhonas Enroth made 20 saves.


“We had a great first period, maybe our best period of the year,” Ennis said. “But it sounds like a broken record, we took some penalties and they came out strong in the second.”


Tonight’s Preview:


Sabres Kick Off Western Swing Of Road Trip With a Visit To The Saddledome


Season series: Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Moulson scored two goals, including the game-winner, in their only previous game this season against the Calgary Flames, a 4-3 Sabres win on Dec. 11, 2014 at First Niagara Center.

Sabres team scope: The Sabres ended the first half of the season by losing 11 games in a row, and Buffalo is already facing new obstacles before the first puck has been dropped in the second half. Goalie Michal Neuvirth is out after sustaining a lower-body injury while working out during the All-Star break. Matt Hackett has been recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League as a result. The Sabres will also be without young defenseman Nikita Zadorov, whom Buffalo suspended after failing to report on time following the break. “When you’re a 19-year-old kid, sometimes if you’re not instructed to do things, you know how kids can be sometimes,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said Monday. “This will be a big, big learning curve for him.” Zadorov is expected to return to the Sabres at some point during their current road trip.

Flames team scope: Calgary is currently in Stanley Cup Playoff position with a one-point edge on the Los Angeles Kings for the West’s second wild-card spot. The Flames will have the chance to pad their slim lead; they open the second half with a six-game homestand, the first three games of which all come against opponents outside of the playoff field. Calgary will have to contend with injuries, however; forward Curtis Glencross (lower-body injury) and defenseman Ladislav Smid (upper-body injury) remain out. To help fill the void, the Flames on Monday recalled forward Sven Baertschi, the 13th player chosen at the 2011 NHL Draft, forward David Wolf and defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon.


Injury Report:

Buffalo: Foligno Hand(IR/Out), McCormick Blood Clot(IR/Out), Gionta Upper Body(IR/Probable), Weber Lower Body(Probable), Neuvirth Lower Body(Out), Zadorov Suspension(Out)

Calgary: Bennett Shoulder(Out), Glencross Lower Body(IR/Out), Smid Undisclosed(IR/Out)


Next 5 Games:

January 29th @ Edmonton Oilers 9:30 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV)

January 30th @ Vancouver Canucks 10:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV/NHLN-US HD)

February 3rd @ Montreal Canadiens 7:30 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV)

February 5th vs St. Louis Blues 7:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV)

February 7th vs Dallas Stars 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

Struggling Sabres Finish Up Home Stand With Visit From League’s Leading Point Getter Voracek And Flyers 7:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV/WGR 550)

 @   7:00 PM

Last Game:

Buffalo: January 15th vs Wild Loss 7-0

Philadelphia: January 15th vs Canucks Loss 4-0



Buffalo: 14-28-3

Philadelphia: 17-21-7



Buffalo: 31

Philadelphia: 41


Rank In Conference:

Buffalo: 16th(8th in Atlantic)

Philadelphia: 12th(5th in Metropolitan)


Goals For:

Buffalo: 76(30th)

Philadelphia: 118(T-18th)


Goals Against:

Buffalo: 156(30th)

Philadelphia: 129(24th)


Power Play Rankings:

Buffalo: 8.8%(30th)

Philadelphia: 22.2%(6th)


Penalty Kill Rankings:

Buffalo: 75.2%(28th)

Philadelphia: 73.5%(30th)


Shots For:

Buffalo: 1042(30th)

Philadelphia: 1303(17th)


Shots Against:

Buffalo: 1591(30th)

Philadelphia: 1344(23rd)


Face-Off Percentage:

Buffalo: 45.0%(30th)

Philadelphia: 50.8%(12th)



Buffalo: 1218(10th)

Philadelphia: 1229(9th)


Blocked Shots:

Buffalo: 814(2nd)

Philadelphia: 659(T-9th)


Team Leaders:


Buffalo: Girgensons(11), Ennis(9), Moulson(7), Stafford(6)

Philadelphia: Voracek(17), Simmonds(16), Giroux(14), Raffl(11)



Buffalo: Ennis and Stafford(15), Moulson(10), Girgensons(9), Deslauriers(8)

Philadelphia: Voracek(35), Giroux(34), Streit(26), B. Schenn(17)



Buffalo: Ennis(24), Stafford(21), Girgensons(20), Moulson(17)

Philadelphia: Voracek(52), Giroux(48), Streit(31), Simmonds(28)



Buffalo: Ellis, Pysyk, Armia, and Dalpe(EV), Reinhart, Schaller, and Larsson(-1), Kaleta(-3), Grigorenko(-5)

Philadelphia: Voracek(+12), Giroux(+8), Schultz(+7), Grossmann(+5)


Penalty Minutes:

Buffalo: Deslauriers(50), Myers(49), Weber(45), Foligno and Stewart(43)

Philadelphia: Rinaldo(56), Simmonds(44), Schultz(31), MacDonald(27)



Buffalo: Ennis(109), Moulson(88), Girgensons(81), Stewart(79)

Philadelphia: Giroux(163), Voracek(133), Simmonds(115), B. Schenn(86)


Face-Off Wins:

Buffalo: Girgensons(319), Mitchell(149), McCormick(147), Hodgson(142)

Philadelphia: Giroux(609), Couturier(369), Bellemare(169), Laughton(123)



Buffalo: Deslauriers(146), Weber(94), Foligno(92), Girgensons(90)

Philadelphia: Rinaldo(116), L. Schenn(112), Simmonds(97), Raffl(89)


Blocked Shots:

Buffalo: Gorges(120), Weber(84), Myers(74), Ristolainen(69)

Philadelphia: Schultz(85), Del Zotto(60), Streit(56), Grosmann and L. Schenn(53)


Tonight’s Projected Lines:


Sabres Forward Lines:






Sabres Defense Pairings:





Flyers Forward Lines:






Flyers Defense Pairings:


Del Zotto-Schultz



Tonight’s Starting Goaltending Matchup:

Buffalo: Michal Neuvirth 17 GP 3-12-1 3.34 GAA .909 SV% 0 SO

Philadelphia: Rob Zepp 4 GP 2-1-0 2.21 GAA .909 SV% 0 SO



Last Meeting: April 6th Flyers Won 5-2

Season Series: Flyers Won 3-0-0-0

All-Time: Flyers Lead 81-58-20-3-2

All-Time vs PHI: Sabres Lead 40-30-8-1-1


Upcoming Matchups:

February 15th vs Flyers 7:30 PM

February 19th @ Flyers 7:00 PM


Last Game’s Recap:


Sabres Drop 9th Straight In Humiliating 7-0 Trouncing From Wild


The Buffalo Sabres dropped their ninth-straight game Thursday night as the Minnesota Wild skated away with a 7-0 victory at First Niagara Center.


Jason Pominville recorded three assists to lead the Wild, who won their first game since Jan. 2. Mikko Koivu (0+2), Zach Parise (1+1), Kyle Brodziak (1+1), Thomas Vanek (1+1) and Erik Haula also had multi-point games for Minnesota. Devan Dubnyk stopped 18 shots to in the shutout in his first game with the Wild.


Minnesota scored four even-strength goals, two power-play goals and a shorthanded goal in the winning effort.


Buffalo continues to search for answers. Nine consecutive regulation losses is a franchise record. They’ve been outscored 39-9 during this stretch.


“Losing’s hard enough when you lose a tight game. When you get blown out, you get embarrassed in your own building, I feel bad for the fans that come here and support us and we go out there and have an effort like that in front of them,” Sabres alternate captain Josh Gorges said. “They don’t deserve that. They deserve better.”


Forward Nicolas Deslauriers also said the team needed to show a stronger effort and took the boos from the crowd to heart.


“First of all, I think we’re sorry,” he said when asked what his message to the fans is. “Getting booed, for me, it was the first time hearing that and it’s embarrassing. I don’t know what to say. It’s the first time I feel that from the fans and it’s disgusting.”


Deslauriers tried to light a spark when he had a spirited bout against Matt Dumba late in the first period. Buffalo was only down 1-0 at that point, but gave up a power-play goal with 58.5 seconds remaining in the period, crushing their spirits.


“That’s a part of my game I have to bring up except I don’t think I played my A-game still,” Deslauriers said. “I think I could’ve brought a little more. I tried to pump up the guys and it didn’t work, so I have to find another way to do it, by scoring or doing something else. Tonight, nothing was working.”|BUF|home


Tonight’s Preview:


Flyers Look To Continue Success Versus Struggling Sabres


Season series: The Philadelphia Flyers won all three games against the Buffalo Sabres last season, including 4-3 Jan. 14 in Buffalo. Flyers forwards Matt Read, Vincent Lecavalier and Brayden Schenn each had three goals in the three games. Cody Hodgson led the Sabres with two goals and two assists. The Flyers have won eight of 10 games dating to the start of the 2011-12 season.


Flyers team scope: After a 4-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, Philadelphia was closer in the Eastern Conference standings to the 16th-place Sabres (10 points) then they were to the New York Rangers (11 points), who hold the second wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “I think it’s not the best thing to look at the standings now,” defenseman Mark Streit said Thursday. “We’ve got to gather ourselves and shake it off, this game, and wake up [Friday] and go back to work. There’s nothing else we can do.” The Flyers spent Friday watching video of their loss. With 37 games left in the regular season, the urgency is there to turn things around if there is any hope of salvaging a spot in the playoffs. “You worry about it but there’s a lot of hockey,” coach Craig Berube said Thursday. “Regroup tomorrow, go to Buffalo and win a hockey game. That’s what we’re going to worry about. We’ll go over tonight’s game tomorrow, talk about it. Get the guys refocused for Buffalo.”


Sabres team scope: Buffalo has lost nine in a row and coach Ted Nolan is getting frustrated with his players. “It’s extremely hard,” Nolan said Friday, according to the Buffalo News. “It’s extremely hard when you ask somebody to do something and they don’t do it. What can you do? It’s impossible to change everybody.” Nolan said he’s seen no quit from his players but he would like to see them follow the game plan better. “You take the horse to the well, and it’s up to him to bend over and drink it,” Nolan said. “You can’t force someone to do something. You can ask him and ask him. People are not scoring, you’re not scoring for a reason. You’re not paying the price to score. You’re not getting the puck out along the boards. You’re not paying the price to get it out along the boards. Enough talking; we have to start doing.” After losing 7-0 to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, it was a rough practice Friday, spent mostly on skating drills that didn’t involve the puck. “Punishment, learning all in one,” center Zemgus Girgensons said, according to the Buffalo News. “It’s definitely the right thing to do. We definitely need something to get us going. Maybe that will get in our guys’ heads because no one wants to do that every day, that’s for sure.


Injury Report:

Buffalo: Foligno Hand(IR/Out), McCormick Blood Clot(IR/Out), Gionta Upper Body(IR/Out)

Philadelphia: Pronger Post-Concussion Syndrome(IR/Out), Timonen Blood Clots(IR/Out), Grossmann Upper Body(IR/Out), Coburn Lower Body(IR/Out), Mason Knee(Out), Laughton Upper Body(Out)


Next 5 Games:

January 18th @ Detroit Red Wings 8:00 PM(NBCSN HD)

January 27th @ Calgary Flames 9:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV)

January 29th @ Edmonton Oilers 9:30 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV)

January 30th @ Vancouver Canucks 10:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV/NHLN-US HD)

February 3rd @ Montreal Canadiens 7:30 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV)


U18 Women’s Hockey: Dunne’s OT laser gives USA GOLD


You simply could not have asked for a better ending to an already great tournament at Harborcenter.

51 seconds into overtime of the Gold Medal game against Canada, the sea parted for USA captain Jincy Dunne and she walked right into the slot with the puck.

“I was just trying to put it on net,” Dunne said after. “Anything can happen when you shoot.”

And that she did. Right into the top left corner.


With that the US bench emptied onto the ice and created a pileup in the corner. Gloves and sticks were scattered everywhere. The celebration was on.

The Americans become the first team to win the Women’s U18 tournament on home soil and also broke Canada’s three year run at the top.

The game started out with the Canadians in full control. Scoring early on a US giveaway, they would hold a 1-0 lead late into the first.

But Captain America, #3 Jincy Dunne had her first moment. She took the puck from behind her own net, skated around 2 players and finished her end to end rush with a sick back hander top shelf to even the game at 1.

That goal started a tidal wave of US momentum that carried into the 2nd period.

Alyssa Gorecki finished a nice centering feed to give the US the 2-1 lead early in the second.

But despite the Americans dominance including a 20-2 shot advantage in the period, the Canadians chipped one in just minutes later.

We would continue the 2-2 deadlock throughout the third period.

However Canada began to show some fatigue late taking 4 minor penalties in the last 10 minutes. All credit to their penalty killers as the US could get nothing going on any of them.

The last penalty with under a minute to play in regulation would prove costly.

Overtime begins 4 on 4 so the power play gave the US a 4 on 3 to kick things off. Dunne made no mistake with her first shot attempt.

One of the most unforgettable international moments I will probably ever witness in person.

The sellout crowed, which was pro-American, was unbelievable. The building was so loud after the game winning goal I could have sworn we just won the Olympic gold!


Closing thoughts:

Congratulations to all of the teams who participated. Congrats to Russia who won the Bronze medal earlier in the day as well. The Harborcenter put on one hell of a show. Thanks to the IIHF and Sabresfans for allowing me access to cover the event. The fans were great the entire tournament and we showed up in strong numbers.

The hockey was great, to anyone who wasnt able to attend but caught the fever after USA won gold, next years tournament will be in St. Catherines! Just down the road in the Niagara Region!

The Canadians were a good match but it was TEAM USA on this day. Gold Medal. Congrats ladies!








Photo: Francois Laplante / HHOF-IIHF Images

Header Photo: Courtesy Buffalo Sabres


U18 Women’s Hockey: Stage set for USA CANADA gold rematch


As the tournament began last Monday, most were expecting the USA/Canada Gold medal game to be all but certain. After Sunday’s relatively uneventful semi-final matches, that is exactly what we have.

Despite Canada out-shooting Russia 22-2 the score was tied 1-1 heading into the second.

The Canadians would eventually score 2 more to win the first of the days semi-final matches 3-1 with a 51-18 shot advantage.

Sarah Potomak continued her strong U18WWC by adding two points to her tournament lead which now stands at 9.

In the late match the United States rolled to a 5-0 victory and an even more overwhelming 66-11 shot advantage over the Czech Republic.

Rebecca Gilmore had a big game for the US with 2 goals and 2 assists. She was also named player of the match for the US side.  Melissa Samoskevich continued her standout tournament with 2 goals and 2 assists of her own.

Czech Republic goaltender Katerina Zechovska was named player of the match for their side as she turned aside 48 of 52 shots. She was pulled late in the 3rd as she looked visibly tired and drained. The effort earned a well deserved applause by the pro-US crowd post game.

Another solid showing of 1,430  spectators cheered on the United States. Mini American Flags were once again handed out to create a nice scene after each US goal.

Tomorrow’s Gold Medal match has been sold out since last Tuesday so nothing less than a spectacular atmosphere is expected. I can’t say for sure what the crowd division will be. Normally when you are this close to the border you’d bank on 70/30 pro-Canadian. However the US support has been strong in this tournament and I can see it closer to 50-50.

The Czech Republic will take on Russia for the Bronze medal earlier on Monday. Despite USA and Canada being the two superior teams today, a bronze medal is still a fantastic goal for both countries. I expect this game to be pretty good as well.

In other action on the day Switzerland beat Japan 3-2 in a shootout to wrap up their relegation series 2-0. Japan will be relegated to the 2nd division next year to make room for France who will move up.

Japan may have deserved a better fate after playing an incredible tournament. Most of their matches concluded with them out-shooting opponents and 1-2 goal losses. They should return home proud of how they played but no doubt the demotion will be on their minds.

Sweden and Finland played in the 5th place game with the Fins beating their geographic neighbors for the 2nd time in the tournament.



U18 Women’s Hockey: Quarterfinal drama sets up for big Sunday

Who said women’s hockey isn’t exciting?

Friday provided two of the most tense quarterfinal hockey games you’ll see in any competition.

In the first game Finland jumped out to a shocking 3-0 lead on Russia after one period.

10917031_10152969747575900_859150723370636114_nThe Fins held on most of the second period but you could tell the Russians were starting to find their legs after having just played the night before. They were able to cut the lead to 3-1 after 2.

Halfway through the third frame Fanuza Kadirova tied the game 3-3 setting up for a dramatic end.

With under 10 seconds to go, the Finnish defender lost control of the puck high in the Russian zone. Kadirova broke free for a breakaway and with 3 seconds left, deposited the rubber in the back of the net capping off an incredible comeback.

You have to feel for the girls from Finland. They were playing with a pure nothing to lose approach after having qualified in their final game of the preliminary round. However they weren’t able to defend the early 3 goal lead they built.

Russia will play Canada Sunday 3pm at Harborcenter in the first semi-final. Canada won the opening round matchup 3-2 despite dominating the game in most statistical categories. If Russia can play a full 60 minutes we could certainly have a great game on our hands.


The Czech Republic and Sweden were next up in the night matchup. As with the earlier game, the Czechs jumped out to a 3-0 lead near the midway point of the game.

The Swedes were able to get one back on the powerplay to make it 3-1 heading into the 3rd.

Hanna Olsson was able to close the gap to 3-2 and it seemed we were in for a similar finish. However Michaela Pejzlova gave the Czechs a very important breather goal five minutes later.

Just to keep things interesting Celine Tendenby (SWE) found the back of the net with under 3 minutes to play cutting the lead to 4-3. But that was all Sweden could muster despite holding an 18-5 shot advantage in the 3rd period and a total game advantage of 40-25.

This game also featured two of my favorite players to watch from an individual skill standpoint. #23 Hanna Olsson from Sweden generally appeared able to take over a game whenever she wanted. I couldn’t figure out why she was tentative to do so at times. She possessed superior size and skating ability to most girls on the ice.

The other would be #18 Michaela Pejzlova. The Czech captain has some of the best hands and one-on-one ability of anyone I’ve seen in the tournament. She also has a bit of a feisty competitive edge that should help in a very tough match against the Americans.

The Czech Republic will play the United States at 7pm Sunday in the second semi-final. The US dominated the first match up 3-0 and 24-8 in shots.

It appears we are headed for a highly anticipated USA-Canada Gold medal game Monday but the Russians and the Czechs both appear to be up for the challenge.

(Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)


U18 Women’s Hockey: USA takes top seed. Finland sneaks in.

Match day #3 has come to an end. Its been a fun few days of hockey lasting from noon until past 9pm. As the prelim round comes to a close, it marks the half way point for the tournament. So far attendance has been very good and the atmosphere for the bigger matches has been as good as any high level international competition.

Despite Harborcenter’s construction being incomplete and perhaps a bit rushed, Terry Pegula’s new complex has shown well for its first large tournament. All games have run smoothly. Spectators have had nothing but compliments for the aesthetics of the main rink, the layout for concessions, and other small nuances of the building.

With Buffalo throwing its name in the ring to host the 2018 Mens World Juniors, its perfect timing to showcase the new secondary ice surface to the IIHF. Having left good impressions with the Federation despite the less than ideal Dwyer Arena in 2011, there is no doubt a much more efficient rink such as Harborcenter will enhance the bid.

10897055_10100617696598295_8976404382734326713_nThe marquee game of the night was between USA and Russia. A near sellout crowd created a very energetic advantage for the home side. Mini US flags were handed out early and created a nice scene when waved all at once after goals.

The Russians didn’t put up much fight as it felt like the entire game was played in their end. The Americans proved too quick and skilled cruising to a 7-1 victory and a 29-8 shot advantage.

Melissa Samoskevich put on a show most of the game for the Americans notching a hat trick and player of the match honors.

USA finished the opening round with the top seed and point total. They also receive a bye into the semi-finals Sunday night at 7pm. They await the winner of the Czech Republic/Sweden game to be played Friday.

Speaking of the Czech Republic, they surprised many taking a 1-0 lead late into the first period against Canada. But the equalizer came with 1:29 left. Despite the Czechs being outshot 14 to 5 the score was only 1-1 heading into the locker room.

The Canadians settled down in the 2nd period and were able to score 4 goals. They also had an impressive 20-0 shot margin in the frame.

Sarah Potomak had 2 goals and 2 assists for Canada as they secured the 2nd bye in the playoff round with a convincing 7-1 victory

One of the most interesting matches of the day was between neighboring rivals Sweden and Finland. 

The Swiss could only look on needing Sweden to take care of the Fins thus pushing them through to the playoff round.

However the Finnish ladies had different plans. Despite trailing 1-0 after the first period, they stormed out to 3 goals on 9 shots in the second. They would hang on to a 3-1 victory behind 2 points from captain Anniina Kaitala.

Switzerland was the odd (wo)man out in the 3 way tiebreaker based on goal differential. They will now face Japan in a best of 3 series to see who will remain in the top division next year.



Slumping Sabres Look For First Win Of 2015 vs Jagr And The Devils

 @  7:00 PM

Last Game:

Buffalo: January 3rd @ NY Rangers Loss 6-1

New Jersey: January 3rd vs Flyers Won 5-2



Buffalo: 14-23-3

New Jersey: 14-20-7



Buffalo: 31

New Jersey: 35


Rank In Conference:

Buffalo: 15th(8th in Atlantic)

New Jersey: 14th(7th in Metropolitan)


Goals For:

Buffalo: 71(30th)

New Jersey: 88(26th)


Goals Against:

Buffalo: 135(30th)

New Jersey: 111(22nd)


Power Play Rankings:

Buffalo: 9.0%(30th)

New Jersey: 19.8%(14th)


Penalty Kill Rankings:

Buffalo: 74.6%(29th)

New Jersey: 78.8%(T-24th)


Shots For:

Buffalo: 936(30th)

New Jersey: 1034(28th)


Shots Against:

Buffalo: 1418(30th)

New Jersey: 1230(25th)


Face-Off Percentage:

Buffalo: 45.3%(30th)

Florida: 47.7%(25th)



Buffalo: 1082(9th)

Florida: 758(24th)


Blocked Shots:

Buffalo: 721(2nd)

New Jersey: 502(22nd)


Team Leaders:


Buffalo: Girgensons(11), Ennis(9), Moulson(7), Stafford(6), Stewart and Foligno(5)

New Jersey: Cammalleri(12), Henrique(10), Jagr(9), Ryder, Elias, Zajac, and Ruutu(5)



Buffalo: Ennis(15), Stafford(14), Moulson(10), Girgensons(9)

New Jersey: Jagr(16), Zidlicky(14), Henrique(13), Ryder and Greene(10)



Buffalo: Ennis(24), Girgensons and Stafford(20), Moulson(17), Deslauriers(12)

New Jersey: Jagr(25), Henrique(23), Zidlicky(18), Cammalleri(16)



Buffalo: Pysyk, Schaller, Armia(EV), Kaleta, Larsson, and Reinhart(-1), Girgensons and Grigorenko(-3), Flynn and Myers(-4)

New Jersey: Gionta(+4), Henrique and Bernier(+3), Helgeson(+2), Gelinas, Josefson, Fraser(+1)


Penalty Minutes:

Buffalo: Foligno, Deslauriers, and Weber(43), McCormick(40), Myers and Zadorov(37), Stewart(36)

New Jersey: Tootoo(50), Jagr and Zidlicky(30), Ryder(26), Gelinas(22)



Buffalo: Ennis(96), Moulson(82), Girgensons(77), Stewart(74)

New Jersey: Jagr(91), Severson(74), Ryder(73), Zidlicky(70)


Face-Off Wins:

Buffalo: Girgensons(291), Hodgson(141), McCormick(138), Mitchell(132)

New Jersey: Zajac(311), Henrique(249), Elias(156), Gionta(113)



Buffalo: Deslauriers(127), Foligno(92), Weber(83), Girgensons(80)

New Jersey: Ruutu(85), Tootoo(53), Greene(49), Bernier(47)


Blocked Shots:

Buffalo: Gorges(105), Myers(71), Weber(64), Ristolainen(63)

New Jersey: Greene(99), Zidlicky(42), Larsson(39), Merill(37)


Tonight’s Project Line Combinations:


Buffalo Forward Lines:






Sabres Defensive Pairings:





Devils Forward Lines:






Devils Defensive Pairings:





Tonight’s Starting Goaltending Matchup:

Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 27 GP 11-13-2 3.16 GAA .908 SV% 1 SO

New Jersey: Corey Schneider 36 GP 13-18-4 2.45 GAA .918 SV% 2 SO



Last Meeting: April 1st, 2014 Sabres Won(SO) 3-2

Season Series: Sabres Won 2-0-1-0

All-Time: Sabres Lead 73-45-17-3-4

All-Time @ NJD: Sabres Lead 33-23-9-2-3


Upcoming Matchups:

February 17th @ Devils 7:30 PM

March 20th vs Devils 7:00 PM


Last Game Recap:

Six Rangers score in win against Sabres

Things seem to be clicking on the New York Rangers power play these days.

Just ask the Buffalo Sabres.

Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider and Rick Nash scored power-play goals 2:32 apart in the first period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves to lead the Rangers to a 6-1 win against the Sabres at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

It was not the fastest three-power play goals in Rangers history; those were scored on Nov. 21, 1995, in 1:10 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. New York hadn’t scored three power-play goals in a period since Feb. 4, 2010, against the Washington Capitals.

Drew Stafford scored for the Sabres, who allowed at least three power-play goals in a game for the fourth time this season. Michal Neuvirth started in goal for a second straight night, but was pulled in the first period after allowing four goals on nine shots.

Buffalo (14-23-3) plays the second of its four-game road trip Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils. The Sabres, who were shut out 2-0 at home by the Florida Panthers on Friday, are 1-7-1 in their past nine games.

“We were probably out of it before it even started,” Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said. “I thought the first five to six minutes we had some good energy with a better start than [Friday] night, and then all of a sudden, a bad penalty. They get one [goal]. Then all of a sudden, they get another one and another one, and then the game is over.”

Tonight’s Preview:

Devils play Sabres hoping to string wins together


Season series: The three games the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils played last season were decided by one goal and featured eight goals combined. The Sabres won 3-2 in a shootout and 2-1 in regulation while the Devils beat Buffalo 1-0 in overtime. It’s no surprise considering Buffalo was 30th in the League in scoring (1.83 goals per game) and the Devils were 27th (2.40) last season. Not much has changed this season; the Sabres entered the week 30th in scoring (1.78) and the Devils 28th (2.15).


Sabres team scope: Buffalo is 1-7-1 in its past nine games and has allowed five goals or more in six of its past seven regulation losses. However, the Sabres have played the past seven games without defenseman Tyler Myers, who is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday in New Jersey. Myers, who has been out with a lower-body injury, leads the Sabres in ice time per game (25:21). He is an important part of their penalty kill, which has allowed 12 goals on 26 attempts in the past nine games. The Sabres gave up three power play goals in a span of 2:32 in the first period of a 6-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.


Devils team scope: New Jersey got a hat trick from Jaromir Jagr and eight points from its top line of Jagr, Scott Gomezand Adam Henrique in a 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The Devils had scored 21 goals in their previous 14 games. It was their sixth win in the past 24 games as they are 6-13-5 since the last time they strung together consecutive wins (Nov. 11-14). Forward Martin Havlat and defenseman Eric Gelinas didn’t practice Monday because they were sick. Center Jacob Josefson is eligible to come off injured reserve Tuesday; he has missed the past four games because he has been sick. He practiced Monday. Peter Harrold (head) also practiced Monday after sitting out the game Saturday.


Injury Report:

Buffalo: Hackett Torn ACL(IR/Out), Mitchell Lower Body(IR/Out), Foligno Hand(IR/Out), Gionta Head(Doubtful), Myers Lower Body(IR/Probable)

New Jersey: Clowe Concussion(IR/Out), Salvador Lower Body(IR/Out), Severson Ankle(IR/Out), Josefson Illness(IR/Out), Gionta Broken Hand(IR/Out), Bernier Knee(Out), Gelinas Illness(Questionable), Harrold Upper Body(Questionable)


Next 5 Games:

January 8th @ Carolina Hurricanes 7:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV)

January 9th @ Tampa Bay Lightning 7:30 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV)

January 13th vs Detroit Red Wings 7:00 PM(MSG HD/SN1)

January 15th vs Minnesota Wild 7:00 PM(MSG HD/Bell TV)

January 17th vs Philadelphia Flyers 7:00 PM(MSG HD)

IIHF Women’s U18 tournament kicks off in Buffalo, should you go?

Today kicks off the IIHF Women’s U18 World Ice Hockey Championships in Buffalo. One of the first large events to be hosted by Pegula’s new Harborcenter complex. The tournament doesn’t draw the same fanfare and attention that the Men’s Junior (currently finishing up in Toronto/Montreal) but is worth attending for many reasons.

3e7de7e573I love international competition. Even more so international hockey. So my interest is already peaked. But the U18’s are actually the highest level of “junior” hockey for the ladies. After this the best competitions for them are the Olympics and the over 18 Worlds. So this isn’t low level high school puck here, its expected to be good hockey.

And with that I made my way down to the new facility for the opening game. Japan vs. Sweden. A matchup that didn’t bring in the big crowds but ended up being entertaining nonetheless. You would expect the Swedes to coast mainly because of their rich history in the sport as opposed to Japan, but you would also have been mistaken.

Sweden held a 2-1 lead late into the third period before Japan scored an equalizer with 3 minutes remaining. Looking like we were possibly in for an upset, Hanna Olsen of Sweden finished a beautiful one timer from the slot to retake the lead 3-2 with under a minute to play. This would end up being the game winner. Final shots were 28-25 in favor of Japan.

The first game alone was entertaining and showed this tournament could be competitive even from the underdogs.

Why should you attend the games? The above should give you one decent reason. The hockey isn’t bad. There is no checking in the women’s game (although I saw one big collision that resulted in a penalty) but there is plenty of good skating and passing. Personally I like my international hockey that way.

Second reason to attend is the venue. The new Harborcenter is a very good venue for hockey. The main rink is on the 7th floor and provides a nice atmosphere with views of downtown. There are no bad seats and even the standing room is good as you a provided with your own mini tables. This a perfect time finally check out the facilities if you haven’t yet.

Affordability. The games are all $5 except for the later rounds.  Semi-finals are $10 and the gold/bronze medal games are $20. Matches run all day from noon until 930pm at night so if you’re off during the week it provides some nice mid day entertainment. You can park in the large garage that is directly attached to the arenas at no cost (at least for the earlier games). For the first contest I was able to find dozens of open spots.

Lastly USA/Canada is AS GOOD of a rivalry in women’s hockey as it is in men’s. The Gold Medal loss in Sochi for the women stuck with me longer than the early round loss to Canada by the men

Tonight’s game is sold out between the two sides but its all but expected (not guaranteed of course) to end up Canada vs. USA in the gold medal game next monday. Tickets are almost sold out for that game too so I suggest you get them quick.

Lastly for the merchandise hunters, it appears there are no country specific items such as jerseys/scarfs/hats available. However in the Rink 1 pro-shop you will find commemorative shirts and hoodies for the event.

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