As the OJHL season approaches the halfway point, the Buffalo Jr. Sabres have kept finding ways to win. The Jr. Sabres have lost just once in their last six contests, and in doing so they have opened up a nine-point lead on top of the OJHL West Division. Buffalo’s 16-1-2-3 (36 pts.) record is the best in the entire OJHL.
Leading the way for the Jr. Sabres is forward Pat Egan, the OJHL’s top scorer. With eight goals and six assists over the last five games, Egan has increased his scoring total to 39 points (17+22) in 21 games. Egan has seven goals in his last two games, including four in Friday's 9-4 win over the Lindsay Muskies.
“I think [my game] has been pretty good all year. I’m on a line now with Nolan Sheeran and Max Mikowski, and they have been playing unbelievable,” Egan said.
Mikowski has also been a large part of the Jr. Sabres’ success all season long. He is currently on a seven-game scoring streak, with three goals and 10 assists over that span. At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Mikowski's determination and grit are an example to all his teammates.
“I just work hard, play a simple hockey game, and try to lead by example,” Mikowski said.
Two Jr. Sabres received league-wide accolades for the month of October. Defenseman Nick Desimone was voted the runner-up for the OJHL South-West Conference Player of the Month for October. Desimone, who currently is tied for eighth in the OJHL in scoring and first among defensemen, tallied six goals and nine assists in 11 games in October. The Jr. Sabres boast the league’s sixth-best power play, and Desimone’s offensive prowess has been a huge part of that success, where the defenseman has two goals and 12 assists on the year.
“I feel like that’s more of my game in the offensive zone, so the power play is a time when I can come out and do things that I can’t do 5-on-5. We have a great power play group working together, and it’s been working out so far,” Desimone said.
Goaltender Brandon Mueller was fantastic in his five appearances in October, and he was voted runner-up for the OJHL South-West Conference Goaltender of the Month award. For the month, Mueller posted a 1.18 GAA and .958 save%, with a shutout on October 8 against Burlington. While his play has been great of late, Mueller noted the need to keep improving.
“My game has been real good this month, staying consistent and trying to stay focused. I just have to be ready every game. Rebound control is probably the hardest part of my game that I have to keep working at,” Mueller said.
This Monday (Nov. 11), the Jr. Sabres will get their first taste of playing downtown this season. Buffalo’s game against the Milton Icehawks will be played at the First Niagara Center. Admission is free, but in honor of Veterans Day, donations to the Wounded Warrior Project will be accepted.
This will be the first of two games at First Niagara Center for the Jr. Sabres this season, as they are scheduled to return to downtown Buffalo for a January 14 matchup with Pickering. The team will look to become more acclimated with the area, as the organization looks forward to relocating to the Harborcenter, scheduled to be operational in the fall of 2014.
Click here for the complete Buffalo Jr. Sabres schedule and ticket information.