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Sabres tied up twice

After finishing second in the Abbotsford tournament, the St. Albert Sabres returned to battle to a pair of ties against the Maple Leafs and KC Squires in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League. St.

After finishing second in the Abbotsford tournament, the St. Albert Sabres returned to battle to a pair of ties against the Maple Leafs and KC Squires in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League.

St. Albert lost the Abbotsford final against Calgary with seven minutes to go, but assistant coach Rob Parrotta felt there were a lot of positives that came out of the tournament, where the Sabres hoped to three-peat.

“Abbotsford was a good tournament. We played very well. The kids bonded well and we had a really good showing. We scored a lot of goals, we gelled as a team and were undefeated up until the final. It was a good experience,” Parrotta said.

“We did a lot of good things there,” added forward Luke Mahura. “We built a lot of chemistry and guys got to know each other where they didn't at the start of the year. Things started clicking and we progressed and we have to keep moving with that.”

In the team’s first game back, the Sabres and Maple Leafs (7-8-2) played to a scoreless draw Thursday at Clareview Arena. Mitchell Martell stopped 21 shots for the Sabres and Maple Leafs goalie Nathan Park turned aside 43 shots. The Sabres outshot the Maple Leafs 16-8 in the first, 17-7 in the second and 10-6 in the third.

Sunday against KC (5-9-4) at Akinsdale Arena, the Sabres (11-2-5) saw a point slip away with less than a second to go, as Cameron Brezinski redirected a point shot past Landon Bow to make it 3-3.

Bow turned aside 19 shots in net for St. Albert, who went zero-for-two on the power play. KC scored twice on seven man-advantage opportunities.

“These last couple games a little individuality has crept into our game and that's shown on the score sheet. We've struggled to play as a team, but when we do we have success,” Parrotta said. “These guys are starting to realize they're not going to win as individuals. Luckily we're losing these lessons in ties and not in losses. Hopefully we can get back in the winning column.”

St. Albert opened the scoring with 2:58 left in the first period when Sebastien Auray ripped a shot from the point that hit the post and landed between the legs of KC goaltender Brett Zarowny. Braenden Farge dug the puck loose and tucked it home for a 1-0 lead.

The Sabres made it 2-0 at 1:15 of the second. Shane Bowzaylo was left alone in the slot and picked up his own rebound, shovelling it over the shoulder of Zarowny.

KC battled back to within one just minutes later as Mathieu LaPointe picked up a rebound off Bow’s left pad in a scramble on the power play.

Late in the frame KC evened things up at 2-2 when Jade McMullen deflected a shot by Nicholas Jones from the top of the left circle.

“We got a little too comfortable and they started to build momentum,” Mahura said. “When things weren't going our way we started to get down on ourselves. We need to battle back hard and we started in the third period but it didn't go our way at the end of the game.”

The Sabres restored the lead 1:50 into the third period. Mahura whacked away at a wraparound attempt by Brett Smythe and slipped it past Zarowny.

At the buzzer, Brezinski let loose a shot from the point that made it through a crowd. The Sabres were livid with the call, with both coaches yelling that the referee should talk to his linesmen.

“It's a bang-bang call,” said Parrotta, shrugging his shoulders. “Our version, of course, we don't think it went in. We don't have the luxury of video replay in this league and hopefully we can learn if the puck's not in our zone with five seconds that it doesn't happen.”

A visibly emotional Mahura said the Sabres have to recover from the tough result in practice this week by remaining positive and using it as a learning experience.

“We've tied two games in a row against teams we should have beat. At least we're not losing these at the end of the year and in the playoffs,” Mahura said. “We have to battle hard for 60 minutes in games, no matter what the score or team or situation or what the ref is calling. We just need to focus and stick together as a team. If we're positive, everything should work out.”

The Sabres host the Camrose Kodiaks (2-11-4) tonight at 7:45 p.m. At 8 p.m. Saturday the Sabres face off against the Canadian Athletic Club at Akinsdale.

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