The Buffalo Jr. Sabres defeated the Pittsburgh Pens Elite to claim the 2017 U15 AAA HarborCenter Cup as part of the 2017 OHL Pre-Season Showcase in Buffalo, NY.
The Jr. Sabres took the championship final by a score of 3-0 to finish the tournament with a 5-0 record, outscoring opponents 21-0 in the process.
Standout forward Declan McDonnell had a pair of goals for Buffalo in the championship victory to earn Player of the Game recognition. He finished the five game tournament with a total of eight goals, two assists and 10 points.
“I thought we played really well as a team, got a lot of chances that we finished on and our goaltenders were great,” he said. “This whole tournament was great. It was cool to see the OHL guys playing right across the way. They’re like role models to us.”
Competing players and their families attended information sessions hosted by OHL Director of Recruitment Daniel Broussard throughout the weekend. Jr. Sabres head coach Jacob Brozyna realizes the importance of players knowing the options available to them well in advance of the next step in their young careers.
“It was great for our guys to go across the way and see the OHL players, to learn some lessons from them and to see how hard guys that are just a year or two older work at that level,” he said. “It’s great for our kids and their parents to see all the options that are out there for them. There are some great packages that the OHL offers players and there are a lot of great opportunities out there.”
The 2017 HarborCenter Cup featured eight American-based U15 AAA clubs including the Jr. Sabres, Pittsburgh Pens Elite, Ohio Blue Jackets, Amherst Knights, North Jersey Avalanche, Chicago Young Americans, St. Louis Jr. Blues and Detroit Belle Tire.
With six OHL clubs in attendance plus additional general managers and scouts from across the league, players competing in the U15 AAA portion of the event got plenty of exposure to OHL eyes.
“It’s definitely nice to be able to pop over to the other rink and get some scouting in,” said Kitchener Rangers general manager Mike McKenzie of the dynamic. “I know a lot of teams brought their scouting staff with them this weekend so it’s great to have that U15 element along with the OHL teams playing here.”
The Buffalo Jr. Sabres were crowned champions right in their own back yard. Here’s a look at their march to the top this past weekend at HarborCenter.
Friday September 1:
11:45 am – Ohio Blue Jackets 0 vs Buffalo Jr. Sabres 6
1:30 pm – Chicago Young Americans 1 vs Detroit Belle Tire 1
3:15 pm – Amherst Knights 2 vs St. Louis Jr. Blues 3
5:00 pm – Pittsburgh Pens Elite 3 vs North Jersey Avalanche 2
6:45 pm – Ohio Blue Jackets 5 vs Detroit Belle Tire 5
8:30 pm – Chicago Young Americans 0 vs Buffalo Jr. Sabres 5
Saturday September 2:
10:00 am – Pittsburgh Pens Elite 3 vs St. Louis Jr. Blues 2
11:45 am – Amherst Knights 3 vs North Jersey Avalanche 4
1:30 pm – Detroit Belle Tire 0 vs Buffalo Jr. Sabres 4
3:15 pm – Ohio Blue Jackets 0 vs Chicago Young Americans 2
5:00 pm – St. Louis Jr. Blues 7 vs North Jersey Avalanche 1
6:45 pm – Pittsburgh Pens Elite 2 vs Amherst Knights 5
Sunday September 3:
9:00 am – Chicago Young Americans 0 vs Pittsburgh Pens Elite 1 (Semi-Final 1)
9:30 am – St. Louis Jr. Blues 0 vs Buffalo Jr. Sabres 3 (Semi-Final 2)
12:30 pm – North Jersey Avalanche 1 vs Detroit Belle Tire 4 (5th Place Consolation)
2:15 pm – Amherst Knights 1 vs Ohio Blue Jackets 3 (7th Place Consolation)
4:00 pm – Pittsburgh Pens Elite 0 vs Buffalo Jr. Sabres 3 (Championship Final)
For more information on the 2017 HarborCenter Cup, please visit harborcenter.com.