The Buffalo Jr. Sabres bantam major team took a trip to New England for three games last weekend.
The team, made up of some very highly touted ’04s, played South Shore Kings at Holy Cross before taking on the Mid-Fairfield Rangers at Providence College and Harvard.
The Jr. Sabres ‘04s came away with a 6-0 win over the South Shore Kings before splitting the two games with Mid-Fairfield. The Jr. Sabres came away with a 2-1 win Saturday afternoon before losing the weekend finale, 4-0, on Sunday morning.
The team has two NCAA Division I commits as well as several players who will certainly have a college logo next to their name in the future. New York Hockey Journal took in Saturday morning’s game against the South Shore Kings to get another look at the Jr. Sabres.
Buffalo Jr. Sabres Bantam Major: Top Prospects
#92 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 5/29/04, C, Left Shot
NCAA Commit: Penn State
Crane is an elite player within this age group. The Union, Ontario, native has good size and can power his way to the net. He has a long, fluid stride that allows him to create time and space. He scored a goal by just being around the net and banging home a puck from on top of the crease to make it 1-0. Later in the game he scored a beautiful goal to make it 6-0. He drove the net, toe-dragged an opposing defender before slipping the puck inside the far post. He’s a big time prospect who will likely be a first round pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection.
#23 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 5/14/04, RW, Right Shot
Smith isn’t the best skater nor does he have the best skill set, but he has a ton of upside due to his size and how hard he plays. He projects as a middle six, power forward who can bring it physically. He hits hard and is good down low. He dug a puck out and assisted on the team’s second goal. He scored the team’s fourth goal with a laser right under the bar.
#46 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2/25/04, D, Right Shot
Gately is a smaller, puck-moving defenseman who likes to push the pace. His first touch, outlet passes, and ability to side-step forecheckers make him a great threat on the breakout. He has good feet and likes to join the rush. He’ll be a great prep school player and could be a Division I NCAA prospect down the line.
#36 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 10/23/04, RW, Right Shot
Conmy is a Virginia native who played at this summer’s STX 68 Combine. He is strong on his skates and can make some plays. On the fifth goal, his centering feed deflected off some bodies and into the back of the net.
#88 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2/4/04, D, Left Shot
NCAA Commit: Colorado College
The Plymouth, Mass., native is a big defenseman who projects as a stay-at-home blue liner. He’s at his best when he’s using his length to close on opposing forwards and retrieve pucks. When he keeps things simple, he’s effective. With his size, there’s upside if he can improve his skating over the coming years.
#48 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 5/2/04, LW, Left Shot
Novo has agility which allows him to make plays in small areas. He was able to use his edges to cut away from opposing defenders, giving him time and space to work with before dishing the puck to open linemates.
#8 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2/18/04, LW, Left Shot
Geary has played defense in the past and was most likely just playing up front due to a lack of bodies. He was effective down low and used his size to his advantage. He played the point on the power play and scored a one-timer for the team’s third goal.
#91 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2/17/04, C, Right Shot
Urban scored the team’s second goal and showed an ability to be an effective 200-foot center. He’s a player to watch.
#10 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 4/28/04, LW, Left Shot
Jelsma is another one of the team’s Canadian players. He played left wing in this game and was solid alongside Nathan Stachowiak and Ryan Conmy.
#13 Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 5/24/04, G, Catches Left
McNicholas faced a very limited amount of rubber in this game, but he looked the part with good size and seemed to move well. This observer would like to see him play again, but there’s something there.
Buffalo Jr. Sabres Lines
48 R. Novo – 92 B. Crane – 29 N. Peluso
10 B. Jelsma – 9 N. Stachowiak – 36 R. Conmy
8 P. Geary – 91 D. Urban – 23 K. Smith
88 O. Paskowski – 46 K. Gately
33 A. Zakrzewski – 15 S. Renaud
11 J. McLachlan – 43 J. Helm
13 A. McNicholas