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2017 Scotty Bowman Showcase Recap

by Alex Beilman @Alex_Beilman / Sabres.com (Photo Heckling Images) —

The 13th Annual Scotty Bowman Showcase, which consisted of three all-star hockey games between high school-aged players from the Buffalo and Rochester areas, took place Wednesday night at KeyBank Center.

Tim Horton Memorial Cup

The Rochester Junior All-Stars claimed the Tim Horton Memorial Cup by a score of 3-1 in the first game of the evening. Rochester used an early lead and a strong defensive effort in the second period to defeat the Buffalo Junior All-Stars.

“It’s good for the kids to get the win. They didn’t play here last year,” Rochester head coach Greg Stahl said. “Winning is great for them.”

Mitch Rydzinski (Victor) opened the scoring for Rochester. A shot from the high slot was stopped initially, but the puck bounced off several bodies in front of the net and the puck ended up rolling onto the goal line. Rydzinski jammed it home for the tally.

Shortly after Rydzinski’s goal, David Regan (Irondequoit) received a pass at the right point, and sailed a clean wrist shot into the top left corner of the net. The goal put Rochester up 2-0 just seven minutes into the first period.

The Rochester defense did its job in the first half, limiting Buffalo’s opportunities and puck possession throughout the opening stanza.

The second half started promisingly for Buffalo. The team was able to capitalize on an early man advantage to make it 2-1. Brett Sardina (Williamsville North) finished off a smooth passing play from the right side of the crease. Buffalo had hope just two minutes into the final period.

However, after the goal, Rochester regained their fine defensive form, and shut Buffalo out the rest of the way. Despite facing three more penalties, including a 5-on-3, the penalty kill held firm the remainder of the game.

A shorthanded empty netter capped off the Rochester victory as Buffalo failed to capitalize on the 42-second 5-on-3, and a 1:10 6-on-4 after pulling the goalie with 2:50 to go.

“The penalties definitely took us out of rhythm. Most of these kids are used to playing a lot more. The kids showed a lot of heart,” Stahl said. “When they got that goal, I think we stepped up our play. They’re a good group of kids and they seem to know what to do. They all handled it real well.”

Scotty Bowman Cup

The Buffalo Senior All-Stars flipped the script in the second game of the night, defeating the Rochester Senior All-Stars by a score of 5-1. Buffalo was led by a two-point night by Mike Steffan (Williamsville East) and strong goaltending performances from Tom Held (Orcahrd Park), Griffin Coppola (Hamburg) and Jake Zurat (Williamsville North).

“It was a lot of fun. Obviously, playing for your hometown and playing with a lot of these great players, it was just a lot of fun to be out there,” Steffan said. “I know it was the last game for a lot of us, so it was good to come out as winners.”

Steffan notched his first point with a primary assist on Chris Blachowski’s (Lancaster) opening goal. Forcing a turnover at the blue line, Steffan raced down the ice with Blachowski to create the odd-man rush. As the defender closed in, he slid it over Blachowski, who made no mistake in finishing.

“[Blachowski] was going hard to the net. It was a 2-on-1 and the defense came at me. So, I just slid it over to him and he tapped it in,” Steffan said.

Buffalo went up 2-0 just minutes through a Jason Delmont (Hamburg) marker. Delmont finished off a goal mouth scramble that saw the first several shots stopped by Michael Layer (Fairport) before Delmont got a hold of the loose puck and fired it home.

The second set of goalies highlighted the action during their time on the ice. Coppola and his counterpart, Lindsay Browning (Penfield), went toe-to-toe to end the first half, each making saves when they were called upon. The first period ended with Buffalo up 2-0.

Rochester was able to finally solve Coppola, when Cameron Clark buried a shot from the point to make the score 2-1. The next set of goalies took the ice after this, with Coppola and Browning surrendering only one goal between them.

Buffalo immediately answered, as Shawn Kross (Lancaster) had a wrist shot trickle past Ryab Babineau. Steffan rang up his second point, sliding the puck by Babineau on another 2-on-1. Zachary Biasillo (Orchard Park) put a stamp on the evening, finishing from the high slot to make it 5-1.

“It was awesome. Obviously, you want to win every game,” Steffan said. “There wasn’t any pressure. We were out here having fun. Playing with new guys, meeting new people – it was a great experience.”

Rick Martin Memorial Cup

In the final game of the evening, Team Hasek bested Team Perrault 5-0 in a battle of the Prep All-Stars. Team Hasek took advantage of some stellar goaltending by Dylan Wiemer (Buffalo Jr. Sabres 18U) out of the gate and claimed the Rick Martin Memorial Cup to close out an exciting night of hockey.

Wiemer seemed to have an answer for every point blank, cross-crease, high quality opportunity that Team Perreault threw at him.

“It was a great experience. We came out a little slow, but as we scored the first goal, we picked it up a little bit,” Wiemer said. “We played hard and battled through it and I did my job. It was a good team effort.”

Angelo Cammilleri was the first to reward his keeper’s play, as he cut in front of the Team Perreault net, and snuck a backhand by Jr. Sabres 16U teammate Ben Kraws. Erik Urbank (Buffalo Jr. Sabres 20U) followed that up quickly. Urbank received a pass in the left faceoff circle, drove to the net, and used his quick hands to finish off a couple of dekes and put the puck in the back of the net.

The lead quickly grew to 3-0 as Matt Doyle (Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U) made quick work of a power play and buried his opportunity from just inside the right hashmark.

“It felt good. I thought our guys started slow, but came together again,” Team Hasek head coach Cody McCormick said. “We had confidence through the group when we knew [Wiemer] was making the saves for us. It let us regroup and get into the game.”

The second period slowed down a bit, as Team Hasek clamped down to preserve their three-goal lead.

They would add two goals with their fourth goal coming off a wrist shot that took an odd bounce off of Neil Drake’s (Buffalo Regals) shoulder, went up in the air, and was threatening to land behind him. Drake was able to reach back, but the officials ruled that the puck had already crossed the line.

Urbank scored his second of the night with just 19 seconds remaining in the game, and emphatically sealed the victory for Team Hasek.

“When you’re out on the ice, you want to win. I think that showed with some of the hits and some of the chippiness in the game,” McCormick said. “It just came down to hockey. They know what’s going to work out there. It was fun to be able to coach them. These guys are at this level for a reason.”

(Reprinted with permission of the Buffalo Sabres and NHL.com)

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