,Hello again from the friendly confines of LECOM Harborcenter.
5:37 PM: It’s been a bustling day in the area, as the Buffalo Sabres held day one of Fan Fest across the street inside and outside of KeyBank Center. If you didn’t make it out for Fan Fest, you still have time on Sunday, from 11:30 am - 4 pm. Player and alumni autograph and photo sessions, merchandise sales, games and food are all offered. You can also get a photo with the Sabres’ retired banners, which have been brought down to the arena lobby.
Meanwhile, inside LECOM Harborcenter, prospects from the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins are facing off in the early game, before Sabres/Devils. Considering this isn’t a Buffalo game, there’s a decent crowd. Oh, and if you didn’t get your tickets for BUF/NJD early, you’re out of luck, as tonight’s game is sold out.
6:04 PM: A few lineup changes for the #Sabres tonight. Josh Bloom & Zach Berzolla are both day-to-day & out. Also out: Kohen Olischefski, Atley Calvert, Francois-James Buteau.
Coming in: Jiri Kulich, Ethan Ritchie, Emmett Sproule, Chas Sharpe, Declan McDonnell.
6:55 PM: Puck drop coming soon. Here’s a link to the video that should hopefully work.
7:08 PM: Anthems are done, the crowd has filled in & the puck has dropped!
7:13 PM: Just 2:32 in, the Sabres are heading to the power play after Chase Stillman hauled down a Sabres player in the neutral zone. Tyson Kozak, who had two goals the other night, starts off this PP unit.
7:20 PM: Seth Appert noted the other night how guys like Nolan Burke looked fantastic. While it’s easy to focus on the top draft picks (for obvious reasons), these games also provide a nice opportunity to look at some undrafted players & those looking to get a contract. Tonight’s fourth line, which inclues Burke, Emmett Sproule and Declan McDonnell, just had a great sequence with several opportunities.
7:31 PM: We have goals! The Devils went up first on a goal by Garrett Van Whye, but the Sabres are right back in it. Nico Daws got a piece of Ethan Ritchie’s shot, but it trickled through and in to tie it. Minutes later, Filip Cederqvist sweeps a rebound in. Buffalo up 2-1.
7:40 PM: Cederqvist has played well so far tonight, getting involved offensively but physically, too. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him so far. Buffalo leads 2-1 after the first.
8:04 PM: I’ll fully disclose that I know Declan McDonnell from his time with the Buffalo Junior Sabres organization. On two consecutive plays on the ice, he’s gotten involved physically. He’s not afraid to showcase that gritty side as he looks to get a contract for the upcoming season. He, along with his linemates, have really stepped up tonight.
8:19 PM: Aleksandr Kisakov is as advertised.
8:29 PM: Spencer Sova impressed Seth Appert earlier this week, and just offered Sabres fans a chance to see the offensive of his game, too. He found his spot at the top of the circle to Daws’ right and parked himself there, picking up a pass from Oskari Laaksonen to make it 4-1 Buffalo.
End of the second period. The Sabres lead 4-1.
9:03 PM: You like goals? We’ve got goals. Billy Jerry made it 4-2, Isak Rosen made it 5-2. The Devils came right back with goals from Josh Filmon & Garrett Van Whye. It’s a one-goal game with under eight minutes to play.
9:08 PM: MATT SAVOIE GOAL ALERT! The first-round pick regains the two-goal lead for the Sabres.
MATT SAVOIE GOAL ALERT pic.twitter.com/5ukvCDH8rF— Melissa Burgess (@_MelissaBurgess) September 18, 2022
9:16 PM: Jiri Kulich pops in the empty-netter. The fans have been chanting “Let’s Go Buffalo” on and off for the last few minutes. That’s another Sabres W, as Buffalo takes care of New Jersey with a 7-4 victory. Final shots on goal were 32-27 in favor of the Devils.