Local News

Sabres Send Hurricanes Fans Home Disappointed

Posted January 25, 2004

— Though the official attendance was listed at 17,596, a sparse crowd attended Sunday's NHL game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres because of a

winter storm that dumped snow and sleet on much of the state.

As they tried to navigate the icy roads on their way home after the game, the fans probably wondered why they took such a chance to see the Canes win.

Instead of seeing the Canes win, they saw Jochen Hecht and Martin Biron rally the Sabres from a deficit.

Hecht had two goals and Biron 37 saves, helping the Sabres erase a two-goal deficit and beat the Hurricanes, 4-2.

Derek Roy's third-period goal put the Sabres ahead to stay, and Milan Bartovic added a goal and an assist.

Entering the game, the Sabres were 4-18-2 when they allowed the first goal, and 1-12-1 when trailing after the first period.

None of that mattered Sunday as the Sabres took advantage of mistakes by Carolina goaltender Jamie Storr.

"It doesn't happen very often," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "It would've been an easy game to go the other way, but we came back."

Erik Cole and Kevyn Adams scored for the Hurricanes, who had a 39-21 advantage in shots.

Roy's second goal of the season gave the Sabres the lead and sent Carolina to its fourth straight home loss.

After a turnover by defenseman Bruno St. Jacques in the Carolina zone, Bartovic shot on Storr, who made the save but failed to control the puck.

Roy pushed the rebound into the left side of the net at 5:15 for a 3-2 lead.

It was just one of three goals that came off miscues by Storr.

The Sabres scored twice off rebounds. Bartovic scored Buffalo's first goal off a shot by Andy Delmore, poking the puck past Storr at 3:55 of the second period.

Hecht scored an insurance goal when he stole Storr's pass along the boards and beat the goaltender back to the net at 18:31 of the third.

Storr, the backup to Kevin Weekes, took responsibility for the loss.

"If I had made key saves at key times, there's no way we should've come out of this game without at least a tie, and we should've had a win," Storr said.

Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette didn't blame his goaltender.

"We're not here to try hard," he said. "We've got to win games," he said. "So I'm failing miserably, the players are failing miserably.

"Our fans are coming out and waiting for something to cheer about, and we're failing miserably at that as well."

Carolina charged to an early lead when Cole took Radim Vrbata's pass from behind the net and beat Biron from the left side at 4:06 of the first.

The Hurricanes led 2-0 on Adams' short-handed goal early in the second. After racing up the ice on a turnover, he hesitated on the shot to let a sprawled-out Delmore slide by before beating Biron at 2:14.

The Sabres closed the gap with Bartovic's goal, and Hecht tied it midway through the period, sidestepping defender Niclas Wallin and scoring on a shot from the left circle.

Biron also had three big stops late in the period, turning back shots by Ron Francis, and Justin Williams, and making a diving stop on a shot by Josef Vasicek after getting caught behind the net.

"When your goaltender is on his game, it really helps a lot," Roy said. "You can rely on him, take more chances, and it lets you play harder."

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