Buffalo Jr. Stars
February 20, 2008
Buffalo Stars Empire one victory from Playoffs
Who would have thought just 6 short months ago that the Buffalo Stars Empire Junior B team would be in a battle for playoffs in the tough Empire Junior B league. After a disappointing first year in the league, the Stars set this season’s goal at 35 points. That goal has been reached as the Stars hit the 41 point mark this past weekend with back to back victories over New England at the Albany Showcase.
In the first game of the Showcase, the Stars faced off against league leader Boston Junior Bruins. The Junior Bruins showed why they are the best in the league as they dominated the Stars 6-0. Buffalo hung with the Bs in the first period allowing only one goal, but the Junior Bs turned it up in the 2nd half to go on to victory.
On Sunday, the Stars knew they would need to win both games in order to keep pace over Brewster in the race for the final playoff spot in the American Conference. The Stars would face New England twice, once in the morning and again in late afternoon. The first game of the day saw Buffalo come out flying but New England went on the board first. Buffalo came right back as Justin Holder and Ryan Jaracz netted scores and the period ended with Buffalo up by a goal. The Stars pretty much dominated the 2nd half as Patrick Conte scored twice and Kyle Couell added the insurance and the Stars skated off 5-2 winners. Andy Olsen turned in another fine performance turning away 30 New England shots.
Later in the day, these two teams met once again and similar to the morning game, New England scored first. Brandon Pratt evened it up late in the first half and the teams skated off tied at one. The second half was all Buffalo as the Stars dominated play. Ryan Jaracz scored the natural hat trick and Garrett Moore popped in another and Buffalo skated off as 5-1 winners. Andy Olsen once again shut down the opposition allowing only one goal on 35 shots.
The race for the final playoff spot comes down to this last week of play. Buffalo, with a record of 16-17-8 is 3 points ahead of Brewster (15-20-3-4) and has a game in hand. A Buffalo win or a Brewster loss will assure Buffalo the 6th and final playoff spot. The tie breaking system works like this: Points; Wins; Head to Head. Buffalo has one more victories than Brewster and owns the head to head. A single point by Buffalo and a Brewster loss would put Buffalo in 6th place. The only way Brewster could beat out Buffalo would be if they won both their games against New England this weekend and Buffalo would lose out to Maksymum this Thursday and lose and tie this Saturday against Syracuse. Fifth place is also not out of the question for Buffalo. If they tie and win against Syracuse this weekend, Buffalo would be tied in points and wins with Syracuse but would take 5th place based on winning the head to head.
It should come down to one heck of a final week of regular season play for the Stars.
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