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Schneider shines with hat trick in Sabres' opening scrimmage

Cole Schneider's last season ended with a dream coming true. This one started with a hat trick.

Schneider, the Williamsville native who made his NHL debut with the Sabres during the final two games last year, scored three times in the opening scrimmage of training camp to give his team a 5-0 victory.

"Hopefully, I save them for the year," he Friday said in HarborCenter.

Schneider had no problems scoring with the University of Connecticut or in the minor leagues, but he never got an NHL look until Buffalo summoned him for the penultimate game.

"It definitely made it feel better coming into camp," the 26-year-old said. "I was pretty happy at the end of last season that I got my first game at home in front of a bunch of friends and family. The goal is just get back here and play some more games at home."

Coach Dan Bylsma named Schneider as one his three stars of the scrimmage. Bylsma also picked defenseman Mac Bennett, who is signed to a minor-league contract with Rochester and skated alongside Zach Bogosian, plus the line of Sam Reinhart, Evander Kane and Alexander Nylander.

"The line showed some speed," Bylsma said. "The line showed some creativity."

The victorious Blue team had the advantage of being fresh while the Gold squad had just finished a 45-minute practice.

"They’re tired out and they go against the fresh guys," Bylsma said. "I think you saw that at both ends of the rink."

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