Niagara Gazette — The Buffalo Junior Sabres Junior-A level team knows it is headed to the playoffs. Sitting in first place in the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s West Division, the postseason is assured.
However, they have one gruelling final test to wrap up the regular season: four games in four straight days.
The Jr. Sabres are at home tonight and tomorrow night before heading to road games Friday and Saturday to close out their regular season. Two of the games in this stretch are makeup dates from games scheduled for earlier in the season that were postponed due to severe winter weather.
Tonight, they host the Hamilton Red Wings at the Northtown Center at Amherst, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Tomorrow night, they’ll welcome the Whitby Fury to downtown Buffalo at the First Niagara Center.
On Friday the team crosses the border and travels to Aurora, Ont. to face the Tigers before traveling to Orangeville for a Saturday night matchup with the Flyers.
The team has enjoyed success not only in terms of the standings but in player commitments to college programs. Daniel LaFontaine, son of former Buffalo Sabres captain Pat LaFontaine, became the latest member of the team to commit to a college program when he announced his commitment to Canisius College beginning in 2015.
LaFontaine is the seventh player on the team to make a college commitment. Two others, Ryan Schmelzer and Nolan Sheeran of Amherst, are also headed to Canisius but this coming season. Defenseman Dennis Gilbert, the son of the St. Joe’s football coach by the same name, is committed to Niagara University in 2015.
Also headed to NCAA hockey from the Jr. Sabres in the future are Michael Ederer (St. Lawrence), Max Mikowski (RIT) and Nick DeSimone (Union College).