OJHL: Jr. Sabres Fight for First


As the Buffalo Jr. Sabres prepare to host the Oakville Blades in their final home game of the season, there’s a lot at stake for the OJHL team. With a win tonight, Buffalo will clinch the West Division title, as well as the top seed in the South-West Conference, heading into the playoffs.

Tonight’s game is a special 7 p.m. matchup at the First Niagara Center, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. Fans planning to attend the game are reminded that admission prices are as usual, and complimentary parking will be available in the ramp next to the arena. Concession stands will be open and a 50/50 drawing will be held.

The Jr. Sabres come into tonight’s game on a four-game winning streak. The most recent victory came in a 5-3 win over Mississauga on Sunday, the final game of a three-in-three stretch that also saw the team defeat St. Michael’s and Oakville.

Forward Tyler Gjurich recently notched his 50th goal of the season – and now has 51 on the year. Add to that 42 assists, and Gjurich has a 93-point season – in just 51 games played. Ryan Schmelzer has 65 points (24-41), while Pat Egan is just one point away from 50.

Oakville is led by Jonah Renouf, who has 86 points (28-58) in 49 games this season. Nathan Renouf is second on the team with 70 points (19-51).

After Wednesday’s game, the Blades have a trio of home games remaining, while the Jr. Sabres have just one game left on the schedule. They’ll visit Orangeville in a 7 p.m. game on February 23 before preparing for playoffs next week.

Buffalo is just one point ahead of Georgetown for the division and conference lead, and the Jr. Sabres are tied with Trenton for the top spot in the OJHL. Georgetown has one game remaining, a February 23 matchup against Mississauga, while Trenton has three games left before their regular season finishes.

Buffalo has won all four meetings between the teams this season, with two of the wins coming by a one-goal deficit. The Jr. Sabres defeated the Blades on October 9 by a score of 4-3 before a 3-2 win on November 3. Following that, the Jr. Sabres took a 4-0 shutout victory on November 6 and then defeated the Blades 5-1 on February 16.