The rookie Buffalo Sabres gave it their best effort to defend their Traverse City championship, but in the end they fell just two goals shy. The Buffalo Sabres rookies’ fell 4-2 at the hands of the Detroit Red Wing rookies in the finals at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. Despite the loss in the finals, the future of the Buffalo Sabres looks very bright.
The downfall for the young Sabres was the constant trips to the penalty box, not just in the finals but throughout the tournament. Due to numerous penalties a lot of games were much closer than they should have been. The young Sabres will need to work on discipline before joining the big club. The Sabres allowed 7 power play goals against in their 20 times shorthanded for a 65% PK in the four game tournament, not good enough to win a championship. Special teams were a real killer for the Sabres in the finals, not only could they not kill a penalty they also couldn’t capitalize on their power plays going 0-5.
The two Sabres’ goals were scored by Freddy Roy and Peter Trainer, while Nathan Lieuwen made 36 saves in the loss. The Sabres were dominated by the Wing’s all night being outshot 40 to 25 and Nick Baptiste the tournaments leading scorer, was held off the board.
Despite a rough game in the finals, the Sabres had a fantastic tournament going 3-0 through the round robin before meeting Detroit in the Finals. Zemgus Girgensons showed how far his game has come and why he may be ready to crack the Sabres official roster, 16th overall pick Nikita Zadorov had a solid tournament on the blueline and most impressively Nick Baptiste made a name for himself with a breakout performance throughout the four games.
While they didn’t skate away victorious there is nothing for the Sabres’ rookies to hang their heads over. They played a solid tournament and many of them will earn invites to the Buffalo Sabres training camp which opens on Wednesday. The young players will enter training camp flying high after the four game tournament, hopefully it lit a fire inside of them and they’ll play some motivated hockey during camp. The future of the Buffalo Sabres looks very bright with these rookie rounding into shape.
Congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings on their first Traverse City Championship!