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Sharpen Up: February 28, 2019

Here's what you need to know on Thursday

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Buffalo is back at practice today as they prep for tomorrow's home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It's a 7 p.m. faceoff and tickets are on sale now.

The Sabres are currently eight points behind Pittsburgh for the second Wild Card spot. They'll then head to Toronto after the game to take on the Maple Leafs on Saturday. 

Stick with today for full practice coverage from Harborcenter.

Here's what you need to know. 


Amerks win in Utica, reclaim 1st place in North Division

Watch: Youtube Video

From the Amerks' game recap…

Thanks in part to a pair of third-period goals from Victor Olofsson and Remi Elie, as well as a near-perfect performance from goaltender Scott Wedgewood, the Rochester Americans (34-17-3-2) closed out the month of February with a 3-1 victory over the North Division rival Utica Comets (29-21-5-2) Wednesday night at Adirondack Bank Center.

With the win, the Amerks have collected 27 out of a possible 38 points in their last 19 games and have notched 35 points in their last 26 dating back to a 4-0 shutout win in Cleveland on Dec. 26. 

More importantly, Rochester regained the top spot in the AHL's North Division standings heading into this weekend's crucial home-and-home series with the Syracuse Crunch to start the final full month of the 2018-19 regular season. The Crunch remain just two points back of the Amerks with two games in hand on Rochester.

Forward C.J. Smith notched his 19th goal of the season and 26th point (13+13) in his last 22 games dating back to Dec. 5, while Olofsson and Elie rounded out the scoring for the Amerks. 

Olofsson grabbed a share of the team lead with his 21st goal of the campaign to go along with his team-high 26 assists and 47 points, whereas Elie extended his point streak to five games as he collected his fifth goal in the last seven games.

Wedgewood earned his 13th win in the last 16 games and stopped 30 shots on the night. With his 21st victory of the season, which is second-most in the AHL, Wedgewood has established a new pro career-high in wins as he boasts a 21-9-2 record.

Read the full recap here. 

Alumni Wine Festival returns March 19

The Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association will host the 15th annual Buffalo Sabres Alumni Wine Festival on Tuesday, March 19 at KeyBank Center from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The event, co-sponsored by KeyBank, Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and John W. Danforth, will feature wineries and restaurants from Buffalo, Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

As the event moves into its 15th year, it is expected to reach the $1 million mark in funds raised to benefit breast cancer care in Western New York. Most notably, the Sabres Alumni Wine Festival has supported the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Hope Chest Dragon Boats, a Mobile Mammography Unit and mammography machines for many Western New York hospitals.

Tickets are $75 each and are available here, the KeyBank Center Box Office, or by calling Nick Fearby at (716) 855-4452. All proceeds from the event will benefit breast cancer care in Western New York.

For more information, please click here.

Equipment drive begins tomorrow

Video: How Hasek's Heroes has helped Faustin Ushindi

The Buffalo Sabres Green Team today announced they will hold a hockey equipment drive at KeyBank Center starting Friday, March 1 when the Sabres take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. The drive will run until Friday, March 15, and all equipment donated will benefit Hasek's Heroes.

The Sabres will collect used hockey equipment in conjunction with the NHL's Green Month, an initiative designed to help reduce the League's environmental impact. A Green Team collection net will be located outside the KeyBank Center Account Services office throughout the duration of the drive.

Click here for more details. 

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