Pominville’s goal lifts Sabres over Senators

Jason Pominville scored the deciding goal midway through the

third period, lifting the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 preseason win

over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

The game was played in front of a sold-out crowd of 980 at the

undersized J.L. Grightmire Arena. Dundas, which has a population of

24,700, hosted the game as part of the city’s grand prize in this

year’s Kraft Hockeyville contest.

Rob Niedermayer opened the scoring for Buffalo midway through

the first period with a short-handed goal. Swedish goalie Robin

Lehner, who is 19, misplayed the puck behind the net and it landed

on Niedermayer’s stick for an easy goal.

With less than 13 seconds remaining in the second period, and

with the Senators on the power play, Ottawa defenseman Patrick

Wiercioch took a shot from the blue line that found its way through

traffic and got past goalie Ryan Miller on the glove side.

Pominville’s winning goal was scored at 11:14 of the third. He

took a lead pass from Luke Adam up the right wing and wristed a

shot past Lehner.

J.L. Grightmire Arena’s rink is smaller than NHL regulation, 10

feet shorter and 5 feet more narrow. Line changes were a challenge

because the players sat two-deep on the benches.

The Senators were missing all of their big-name players, but the

Sabres brought Miller on the hour-long bus trip to Dundas along

with fan favorites such as Niedermayer and Thomas Vanek.

Both Lehner, who played with Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL, and

Miller played the entire game.

The local organizing committee had 980 tickets to distribute to

residents for the game, which was the hottest ticket in town. About

40 percent were reserved for the Dundas Minor Hockey Association,

McMaster Children’s Hospital, local Hockeyville volunteers, local

sponsors and government officials. The other 60 percent were

decided by a public lottery for residents of Dundas and the City of

Hamilton, which Dundas has been a part of since 2001.

The arena also received $100,000 to be put toward upgrades.

Plans include a second floor above the concession stand, new

lighting and an outdoor sign. The community goal is to raise more

than $500,000.

For this game, the arena received a fresh coat of paint,

adjusted the benches and the lighting, thickened the ice and added

a new sound system.