Ex-Sabres captain Michael Peca earned another honor from the Ontario Junior Hockey League on Tuesday.
He was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Buffalo Junior Sabres (38-12-5) to the second-best record in the league, their first OJHL division title and to a No. 11 ranking among all of Canada’s Junior A teams. Peca, who is also the team’s general manager, earned OJHL Executive of the Year honors last week.
Peca and his Junior Sabres team return to playoff action tonight when they host the opener of a best-of-seven second-round series at 7 at First Niagara Center against the North York (Ont.) Rangers. The Rangers host Game Two on Friday night.
The Junior Sabres will also host Game Three at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Buffalo State Ice Arena, while also having home ice, if necessary, for Games Five and Seven on March 20 and 23 at their normal Northtown Center in Amherst home. Due to scheduling conflicts at Northtown, Buffalo had to move Games One and Three to other sites within the area.
Tickets cost $7 for adults, $3 for students and senior citizens.
The Junior Sabres, who enter the series well-rested since completing a series sweep of Burlington on March 3, went 2-3 during the regular season against North York, all the games decided by two or fewer goals.
The teams haven’t played each other since Nov. 14, a 5-4 win by Buffalo. North York has been idle since Friday, when it finished off its first-round series in six games against Oakville.
University of Maine-commit Tyler Gjurich leads the Junior Sabres in playoff scoring with five goals and 10 points after leading the OJHL in goals (53) and points (97) during the regular season. Nolan Sheeran has four goals and seven points during the postseason. Corey Kalk of North York leads all scorers in the postseason with six goals and 13 points.