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Buffalo Forces a Game Five on Friday

BUFFALO, NY- MARCH 10: Adam Power #25 of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres battles along the boards with Kyle Kussmann #91 of the Oakville Blades during the third period at the LECOM Harborcenter on March 10, 2024 in New York, USA (Photo by Tim Bates / OJHL Images)

By Ty Brooks

March 13th @ Buffalo Jr. Sabres

Blades Top Players:

McCarthy 39/42 SVS .929 SV%

Johnston 1G

Shantz 1G

Well, it wasn’t the result the Blades had hoped for, but the team still put in a good effort in this game. If you didn’t already know, the Blades fell short of sweeping the Jr. Sabres with a 3-2 overtime loss in Buffalo on Wednesday. This means that Game 5 will be necessary, and that will take place in Oakville at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex. The previous game was an elimination game; of course Buffalo staved off elimination, but the Blades will have another chance to eliminate the Jr. Sabres at home this time. The series now sits at 3-1 in favour of the Oakville Blades.

 

 

This game looked similar to the last game in Oakville, where the score sat fairly and possession sat even until the 2nd period began. Then in the second, the whole game flipped upside down, with three goals in the first 5:16 of the period. First it was Buffalo, and then Luke Johnston at 3:11, who turned the puck over and shot from range that just squeaked past the Buffalo goalie. Then, just after at 5:16, Buffalo struck again to extend their lead to 2-1, where it would stay for quite some time. After 40 minutes, the Jr. Sabres heavily outshot the Blades by 27-14.

 

 

A couple minutes into the 3rd period, the Blades Play of the Night happened, from Blades veteran Jeriah Shantz. After the puck was turned over, Shantz played heavy on the backcheck to try and turn it over again in the neutral zone. On his warpath, he knocked over a Jr. Sabres attacker and then picked the pocket of another at his own blue line and managed to stop the Buffalo attack. He went from blue line to blue line and entered the Buffalo zone and dropped the puck to Kyle Kussmann, who, after just a couple seconds, sent the puck right back to Shantz after the defender went to Kussmann. Now finding himself in a 2-on-1 situation, Shantz waited until the goalie showed the slightest sign of preparedness to slide across and just left his post in the slightest. Shantz noticed that and slipped a beautiful shot between the post and the goalie’s mask to tie the game up, which would end up being the goal that sent us to overtime.

 

 

Eventually, we found our way into overtime, which, because this is a playoff game, means it’s still 5-on-5 hockey for 20-minute periods. It started very slowly because neither team wanted to make that critical mistake that would result in a loss for their team. The overtime period would have 11 shots for Oakville and 7 for Buffalo until 18:43 of the 1st OT period, when Buffalo recorded their 8th shot of the OT period and the game-winning goal off a 2-on-1. Not the result the team looked for, but still a good performance.

 

 

Now, the team is back in Oakville, and surely they’ll be ready for the next game. In two home games throughout the series, the Blades have outscored the Jr. Sabres 10-2 and were generally dominant. The fans are now certainly looking forward to this big game 5 that’s going to take place on Friday, the 15th, as it could result in the elimination of the Jr. Sabres or cause some cause for concern for the Blades. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM. Get there and make some noise! Go Blades go!