The Buffalo Junior Sabres have put a national championship on their résumé.
The Junior Sabres' 15-only team won the USA Hockey national title Tuesday, defeating perennial power Little Caesars of Detroit, 3-2, in Plymouth, Mich. Buffalo went 3-0 in round-robin play, beating Rochester Coalition, 4-1, in the quarterfinals and downing the Phoenix Junior Coyotes, 3-1, in the semifinals.
The Junior Sabres opened a 2-0 lead against Little Caesars in the title game, then held off the Detroit club after it scored with 13:45 to play. Buffalo's Austin Robinson started the scoring with 4:35 gone in the second period, and Declan McDonnell made it 2-0 midway through the second. Goaltender Luke Pavicich made 24 saves.
No one can ever take this away from you boys... pic.twitter.com/eK1QI9R6s7
— Buffalo Jr. Sabres (@BuffaloJrSabres) April 10, 2018
McDonnell, a Lake View native, finished with seven goals and 12 points in six games. During the weekend, he was selected by the Kitchener Rangers in the third round of the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection Draft.
The Junior Sabres sent three teams to the U.S. nationals. The 14-and-under team went 2-0-1 in round-robin play in Charlotte, N.C., but lost, 7-1, to the Boston Junior Eagles in the quarterfinals. The 16U team went 1-2 in the round robin and failed to advance to the playoffs in Philadelphia.