GEORGETOWN, ONT - FEBRUARY 24: Nicholas Townsend #6 of the Georgetown Raiders shoots the puck during the third period at the Mold-Masters SportsPlex Arena on February 24, 2024 (Photo by Cameron Ernst / OJHL Images)

Happy Friday, Raider Nation. Here’s your last regular season Weekend Preview!

Tomorrow, March 2nd, the Raiders are back at Alcott Arena for a 5:30PM showdown with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. This will mark the fourth and final meeting of the two clubs for the regular season. Buffalo leads the season series 3-0-0-0.

Heading into the matchup, Buffalo posts a 31-18-0-4 record on the season and resides in 4th spot with 66 points currently. Buffalo has secured a spot in the OJHL Playoffs. As mentioned in our playoff preview article, the West Division playoff picture is still very undetermined and could look dramatically different on Monday next week. Buffalo is 6-2-2-0 in their last ten game this season and is on a two game winning streak. Their last appearance was a 2-1 win at Aurora on Feb. 24th. On the road this season, the Sabres have a record of 14-11-1-0. Special teams on the road this season include a 25.88% rate on the power play, and a 77.78% rate on the penalty kill. Leading scorer for the Sabres this season is #21 Patrick Cole (35-22-57).

The Raiders sit in 7th place with a record of 28-21-1-4 and 61 points this season. The Raiders have also secured a playoff spot. Heading into the matchup, the Raiders have a 7-3-0-0 record in their last ten games. The Raiders last appearance was an 8-1 loss to Trenton on Feb. 28th. At home this season, Georgetown has a record of 15-9-2-0. Special teams at home for the Raiders include a 35.71% power play and a 65.38% penalty kill. Leading scorer for the Raiders is #91 Quinn Tavares (28-36-64).

For the Raiders, this is a big test. Georgetown could be playing Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs depending on how things shake out this weekend, and Georgetown needs a win tomorrow night to gain some confidence against the Sabres. All three games have been close this season, with the largest margin of victory for Buffalo being three goals on Oct. 1st. The Raiders need to harness the same goal scoring energy they did against Collingwood last Saturday and build a lead against Buffalo. Responsible defensive play and eliminating turnovers are paramount to success. Buffalo can score and can’t be given chances to do so. Expect a Raider team hungry to put the 8-1 loss on Wednesday further in the rearview mirror.

You’re not going to want to miss this one! Tickets are $15.00 at the door; doors open at 5PM for a 5:30PM puck drop. See you tomorrow night, Raider Nation!

Then, Sunday, March 3rd, the Raiders hit the road for their regular season finale in Markham against the Royals This will mark the first and only meeting of the season for these two clubs.

The Royals sit in 6th place in the East Division with a record of 30-18-3-3, and 66 points. They are in a tie with Halliburton, who has the same point total. The East Division is in the same state as the West Division, with playoff matchups likely not to be decided until the dust settles on the last regular season games this weekend. Markham is 5-4-1-0 in their last ten matchups. Their most recent result was a 5-4 loss at Stouffville on February 27th. At home this season, the Royals have a 13-10-2-0 record. Special teams at home for the Royals include a 28.16% effective power play, and a 81.25% effective penalty kill. Leading scorer for the Royals is #55 Ryan Forberg (43-52-95).

Another matchup that presents Georgetown with an opportunity to play a team for the first time this season, who is in relatively similar standing, points-wise. Georgetown needs to play their game, and not let the Royals sway them off course. Scoring off the rush and in bunches will get Georgetown a win. Using this game as an opportunity to finish sharpening the knives heading into the post season is important as a mindset. I’d expect the Raiders to have a full lineup and not rest any players as there is still so much up for grabs in the Division for playoff positioning. Expect the same for Markham. Markham boasts two of the leagues leading scorers in Ryan Forberg and Ben-Chaim Lalkin. Lalkin recently hit 50 goals on the season and no doubt will want to finish the season with north of this mark. Expect a good game from the Raiders and Royals to finish out the regular season. Tune in on flohockey at 1:30PM Sunday afternoon.

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