BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Sabres scored early and often en-route to a 6-4 win over the New Jersey Devils in their first game at the Prospects Challenge Friday night at HarborCenter.
Kyle Olson set the tone for the night just 30 seconds in the first period, burying a feed from Henri Jokiharju to give the Blue & Gold a 1-0 lead.
Victor Olofsson made it 2-0 five minutes later before Andrew Oglevie tallied the first and final goal in the period.
7th overall pick Dylan Cozens, who was cleared to play in Friday’s game following thumb surgery, scored on the power play to help the Blue & Gold build a 6-1 lead after two periods.
“Yeah it feels good,” Cozens said of scoring. “Kind of got lucky there. But a goal is a goal.”
1 – Pace & Physicality
From the opening puck drop the Sabres set the tone against New Jersey, putting pressure on the Devils with their forecheck and back-check. It was clear after laying a few big hits that New Jersey’s prospects didn’t want much of any of it.
Will Borgen’s booming check along the boards led to Oglevie’s tally in the first period.
2 – Victor GOAL-ofsson strikes again
We know Victor Olofsson can score from any where at any time on the ice, and once again he showed why his shot might be one of the best the Sabres have on a nightly basis.
Early in the first period as Brandon Hickey cleared the puck from the zone, Olofsson corralled it at the redline, skated in and sniped his first goal of the tournament over the shoulder of New Jersey’s Gilles Senn.
3 – The “Pest” Pekar
Last year at development camp, we were all introduced to Matej Pekar who self described himself as a “pest” and the kind of guy that likes to get under opponent’s skin.
After missing development camp this year, in his first action since dealing with a shoulder injury, Pekar endeared himself to the Devils — and Sabres faithful — early and often.
Late in the first period, after some jostling along the boards between Pekar and Michael McLeod, the winger asked McLeod if he “wanted to go?” but nothing came of it.
Pekar would get his dance partner in the third period in New Jersey’s Michael Vukojevic. After Vukojevic landed a few shots to open the bout, Pekar fired back and planted the Devils defenseman and received quite the roar from the capacity crowd on hand.
“He’s an energy guy and gets the boys fired up,” Cozens said of Pekar. “He’s a great team guy and does whatever the team needs to win. That fight was pretty cool to see him do that.”
“That’s unbelievable to see,” added Olofsson. “He’s a pain the (butt) for the other team so that was a lot of to watch.”
4 – Jonas Johansson was solid in net
The box score shows the net-minder gave up four goals, but three of the four came in the final period.
He showed off his lateral quickness throughout the night, which included stoning first round pick Jack Hughes on a wrap around attempt.