BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – For the first time since the border reopened, Dylan Cozens’ family came down from Canada to see him play. Nine of the people closest to him saw the young forward put on a show. He scored two critical goals for the Sabres in the second period, one that tied the game and another that gave them the lead, one they did not give back in a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Cozens said earlier in the week that head coach Don Granato asked him if he was up to the challenge of facing Connor McDavid, whom many consider the best player in the world. Dylan said yes, and he proved it with the two goals on the night.
“It’s a big confidence boost for sure, going against one of the top players in the world,” Cozens said. “I wanted to be up for the challenge.”
He certainly was up to that challenge. Granato said when he asked Cozens if he was ready to face McDavid, he wanted to read his body language. Obviously the body language was good enough to give him the role of taking on the league’s top player. Don knows how dangerous Cozens can be when he plays with confidence, especially after tonight.
“The biggest thing with me I want to see him play with confidence because it’s exciting for everybody here to watch and that follows us to watch him when he plays with confidence and it’s a way to maximize and his ceiling is… I can’t tell you where his ceiling is. It’s high,” Granato said.
Dylan’s first goal of the night came at 13:56 in the second period when linemate Drake Caggiula fed him the puck. Cozens broke away and made his shot count, as he tied the game 2-2 in the latter half of the second period.
Caggiula spoke highly of Cozens after the game, saying he’s got a lot of tools in his toolbox, and perhaps a night like tonight could help him have even more success down the road.
“Finally a couple went in for him and that may be a huge confidence boost going forward,” Caggiula said. “He was a great player today, played against McDavid pretty much every shift and did a great job in that role.”
Dylan netted his second goal of the night less than six minutes later. Vinnie Hinostroza’s shot was blocked, but Cozens came in for the rebound goal to give the Sabres the 3-2 lead.
They were able to hold on to the lead throughout the third period and take the victory. Dylan knows he had a great game, but also knows the work continues.
“Obviously it’s one game, but it shows [Granato] can trust me against one of the top players in the league,” Cozens said.
This is the first multi-goal game of Dylan’s career.
The Sabres now move to 6-5-2 on the season. Up next they face the Toronto Maple Leafs at home on Saturday at 7 p.m.