Lake Placid beats Queensbury in OT to reach final four

GLENS FALLS – When the Lake Placid hockey team needed to rely on its captain the most, Chris Williams couldn’t have come through in a bigger way.

Williams, a senior, buried the biggest goal of his career Saturday, scoring in overtime to give Lake Placid a 2-1 victory over Queensbury in a regional playoff game to send the Blue Bombers back to the state final four tournament for a second year in a row.

The goal came with 1:11 remaining in the first overtime period, and enabled New York state’s seventh-ranked Division II team to escape from the Glens Falls Recreation Center with a dramatic win against the upset-minded Spartans, who scored the first goal of the game but couldn’t get another puck past the Lake Placid defense and goaltender Kamm Cassidy.

After Gabe Smith notched an unassisted goal with 1:12 left in the opening period to put the Section II Spartans on top 1-0, the Blue Bombers responded with the next two goals of the game to claim the win and improve to 18-4-1 overall.

Noah Mohr, another Blue Bombers’ captain, evened the score at 1-1 when he found the back of the net 1:58 into the second period, and from there, the rest of regulation remained scoreless as neither team could cash in on some great scoring opportunities.

As the only Division II team in Section II, Queensbury earned an automatic berth in Saturday’s playoff matchup, and despite their 3-16-1 record, they gave the Blue Bombers all they could handle, especially when it came to their senior goaltender Teddy Nolan, who had a spectacular performance.

Nolan, however, was unable to stop Lake Placid’s 32nd shot on goal, as Williams picked up a loose puck just inside the Queensbury blue line and sent home the game-winner in sudden death on a wrist shot that banged off the crossbar and into the back of the net. The goal was the 36th of the season for Williams, who has amassed 70 points in 23 games this season.

Sean Moore and Kevin Geesler both picked up assists on Mohr’s game-tying goal.

Cassidy, a junior, made 27 saves to earn the win in nets for Lake Placid.

After falling 3-2 to Williamsville East in the semifinals at the final four a year ago in Utica, Lake Placid will look to get over that hump this time in a new location, as Buffalo hosts the tournament for the first time at the Harbor Center on March 12 and 13.

And just like last year, the Blue Bombers will take on a Section VI team, as they tangle with the Kenmore East Bulldogs. Kenmore East defeated St. Lawrence 6-1 in another quarterfinal Saturday to punch its ticket to the final four.

The game will be played Saturday, March 12 with the opening faceoff slated for 5:15 p.m.