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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Steve Shields

(Born July 19, 1972) -- In the spring of 1997, the Buffalo Sabres won the first Game Seven in their history, as they defeated the Ottawa Senators at home in the first-round matchup. Everyone remembers Derek Plante’s goal in overtime to decide the series. The Buffalo goalie that skated down the ice to join in the celebration was Steve Shields.

It certainly was the highlight of Shields’ hockey career. The tall goalie grew up in North Bay, Ontario, and played hockey at the University of Michigan. There he attracted the attention of the Sabres, who took him in the fifth round of the NHL draft in 1990.

Shields turned pro in 1994 and spent the next two season in the minors for the most part. He helped the Rochester Americans win a Calder Cup in 1996.

Then it was up to the Sabres the following year, mostly to back up Dominik Hasek. But when the MVP goalie got hurt in the playoffs, Shields answered the call. He won Game Six of the Ottawa playoff series, and then was in the nets for Game Seven.

Shields was traded to San Jose in 1998, and he bounced to Anaheim, Boston and Atlanta. He only played more than 40 games once in his career (Sharks, 1999-2000). But he’ll always have Game Seven.

--- Budd Bailey


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