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by Kevin Snow / Buffalo Sabres
TRAVERSE CITY, MI --- With first place locked up and a berth in the final already confirmed, the Buffalo Sabres closed out the round-robin portion of the NHL Prospect Tournament with a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Buffalo will now face the Gretzky Division champion New York Rangers in Wednesday’s championship game at 7 p.m. (MSG).


1st PERIOD: Ryan Rondeau starts his second consecutive game for Buffalo, while Evan Mosher gets his first action of the tournament in the Detroit net. The Red Wings jump out to a 1-0 lead at 11:45 on a goal by Marek Tvrdon, as he tips home Xavier Ouellet’s point shot. The Sabres even the score just 73 seconds later when Steven Beyers forces a turnover along the wall in the offensive zone. Corey Tropp picks up the loose puck and feeds Phil Varone who wires the blast past Evan Mosher. With the period winding down, Tvrdon steps uncontested, fakes once and then goes low stick side past Rondeau at the 17:03 mark. Detroit holds an 11-7 edge in shots.

2nd PERIOD: Despite being outshot 15-6 in the period, Buffalo escaped the second tied at 2-2 thanks to some stellar goaltending from Rondeau. The Sabres evened the score on Marcus Foligno’s goofy goal at 13:14. Defenseman Alex Biega wheeled across the blueline and fired a shot on net that changed direction off a Detroit player. Foligno benefited from the redirection as he tipped the puck waist-high past a startled Mosher. Rondeau made several big saves, including a pair while Alex Lepkowski was serving a hooking minor early in the period.    

3rd PERIOD: The Sabres had a glorious opportunity to take the lead when they started the third period on a full two-minute power play thanks to a slashing penalty assessed to Mitch Callahan at the end of the second period. But not only did they squander this man advantage, they proceeded to allow three Detroit goals in a :91 span from 2:14 to 3:45. Kevin Sundher and Riley Boychuk had scoring chances late in the period but Buffalo wasn’t able to get on track after the Red Wings three-goal barrage. Detroit held an 11-8 edge in shots in the period, for a game total of 37-21.

WHAT COACH RON ROLSTON THOUGHT: “Detroit was real good tonight, and I thought we were just pretty average in terms of urgency … They’re a skating team, they’re quick, and they had a lot puck possession time on us tonight … We’re looking for a bounce back tomorrow effort.”

NOTES: Buffalo’s scratches were Luke Adam, Dan Catenacci, Gregg Sutch, Brayden McNabb and Matt MacKenzie … The Sabres were 0-for-7 on the power play, and are now 2-for-18 (11.1%) in the tournament … The New York Rangers are a tournament-best 5-for-21 (23.8%) on the power play.  
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