Sabres Prospects Hold On Against #1 Pick and Canadiens
BUFFALO, N.Y. --- The Buffalo Sabres hosted the Montreal Canadiens at The Harborcenter to start the 2022 NHL Prospect Challenge. Many players shined, Tyson Kozak posted two goals. Matt Savoie didn’t show up on the score sheet, however Coach Appert had him running a double shift in his first game to really give an NHL feel to the 18 year old so he can see what it’s like and he still had a major influence. Beck Warm stood out in the first 30 minutes of the game, posting highlight save after save throughout the first period. Oskari Laaksonen, Lukas Rousek, and Linus Weissbach were the only pervious Buffalo Sabres on the roster, all spending significant time with The Rochester Americans last season, they all wore A's on their Jersey.
The first period was a tale of two halves, in the opening minutes neither team looked cohesive or like they were organized on the ice. The one highlight for the Sabres was the outstanding play of Warm in net. It wasn’t until 8:24 into the period when Emil Heineman put one in from medium range assisted by number one overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky to launch the Habs into the lead. That wasn’t enough to wake up Buffalo though as The Canadiens scored again just a few minutes later. They seemed to kick into gear following that one though, as Linus Weissbach made a beautiful assist in front of goal to allow the backdoor goal for Josh Passolt. They proceeded to tie things up 37 seconds later as a pass was put in front of net and Nolan Burke guided it home.
The second period was not as exhilarating on paper, it started out that way though. Buffalo rolled their momentum right into the second period and Tyson Kozak created a deflection goal in the opening minutes off Matts Lindgren’s shot from the blue line to make it 3-2. The rest of the period was back and forth physical hockey, the enforcing was led by Zach Berzolla, a new face to the Buffalo area, coming from the Hartford Wolfpack.
The Third period gave feelings of more of the same from the second. Play was physical and neither group could put something together. Montreal went onto the power play and the arena could feel the tie coming from The Habs. That’s when Kozak flipped the momentum on its head and took home a shorthanded goal six minutes into the period to double the Sabres lead. Montreal got one back not long after but the momentum still sat with The Sabres. With just under six minutes to go in the period Berzolla got into it with one of The Montreal players, following multiple calls not going his way throughout the second and third periods. Montreal tried to pull their keeper at the end but it proved not to be enough. Buffalo held out for the win 4-3.
The Sabres next game in the Prospect Challenge is Saturday September 17th at The Harborcenter. Puck drop is at 7pm.