The Buffalo Sabres finished off their Prospects Challange vs the Pittsburgh Penguins at Harborcenter on Monday evening. Buffalo came into the contest 2-0 through their first two contests of the tournament thanks to 10 goals for during those games.
Despite having four chances on the powerplay, the Sabres weren't able to generate goals with the man advantage. The team also lost one of their key forwards Matt Savoie early in the game due to an injury on Pittsburgh's first goal, which left them with only ten forwards, due to starting seven defenseman as well as scratching key offensive contributors Isak Rosen and Jiri Kulich from the lineup for maintenance.
Coach Seth Appert said Savoie would "miss some time" for the start of Sabres main training camp and would be re-evaluated in the morning.
Buffalo's Lines vs PIT:
Zach Benson, Matt Savoie, Filip Cederqvist
Ethan Miedema, Tyson Kozak, Olivier Nadeau
Lawson Sherk, Graham Slaggert, Damien Giroux
Dominik Mersch, Riley Fiddler-Schultz, ____
Mats Lindgren, Zach Metsa
Nicholas Savoie, Ryan Johnson
Chris Jandric, Nikita Novikov, Norwin Panocha
SCRATCHED: Jiri Kulich, Isak Rosen, and Viktor Neuchev got the night off after strong showings through the first two contests.
It was the Penguins jumping out to the early lead as Sam Poulin was able to get one in behind Retzlaff less than 30 seconds into the contest. Sabres defenseman Mats Lindgren would receive a big hit in the defensive zone but got right back up and finished the shift.
The Penguins would receive a powerplay as Zach Metsa went off for tripping near the midway point of the period but the Sabres were able to hold the fort. Sabres would then get their first man advantage in the closing quarter of the opening period after Brantford Bulldogs forward Lawson Sherk was hauled down on a partial breakaway.
Late in the period it was Scott Ratzlaff who would come up with a big breakaway save in tight and then another blocker save on Erie Otters forward Pano Fimis. Buffalo would be awarded another late powerplay with less than a minute to go in the period but weren't able to capitalize before the opening period buzzer.
Buffalo would have 1:07 of powerplay time carried over to the middle period but were not able to generate any shots after Pittsburgh ended up with a few shorthanded chances. Zach Benson would draw a penalty after going in on an odd-man rush, giving the Sabres their third powerplay of the night.
The Sabres were not able to do much on the powerplay once again and it was Pano Fimis who continued his strong work on the penalty kill who created his second breakaway chance, but Scott Ratzlaff was up to the challenge.
Brayden Yager would steal the puck and go in on Retzlaff, went to the backhand and put it top shelf to extend Pittsburgh's lead to a pair, which was all thanks to Joel Blomqvist's save at the other end just prior to the goal.
Lawson Sherk would go off for slashing giving Pittsburgh a late man advantage, but Buffalo were able to withstand the chance to only go into the second intermission down a pair.
Teams would trade penalties but continue to struggle with the man advantage in the final period. The Sabres would pull their goaltender with less than four minutes left. The Penguins would seal it with an empty net goal by Jagger Joshua, sending many of the Sabres fans in attendance to the exit.
Pittsburgh would go on to be victorious thanks to a 34-save shutout by Joel Blomqvist on this night. Not to be forgotten, Sabres goaltender Scott Ratzlaff was sharp when needed, stopping 23 of 25 Penguins shots for a strong showing in defeat. Buffalo will have a Blue and Gold Scrimmage next Saturday at KeyBank Center as main camp looms.