By LOU REUTER, Enterprise Senior Sports Writer
SARANAC LAKE - A never-die attitude paved the way for a big hockey win for the Saranac Lake girls team Tuesday, as the Red Storm rallied twice from deficits to pull out a dramatic 3-2 victory over Lake Placid.
The Blue Bombers took 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the contest, but the Red Storm came back with a pair of equalizers and then won the contest with just 15 seconds remaining in regulation on a goal by Rachel Patraw.
WHEELING AT THE BLUE LINE: Saranac Lake’s Emily Kriwox protects the puck from Lake Placid’s Brenna Whitney during third-period action in the Blue Bombers’ zone in Tuesday’s high school matchup.
Enterprise photo by Lou Reuter
Each team won once in their two previous meetings this season, with Tuesday's triumph giving Saranac Lake a 2-1 edge in the rubber matchup. The only way the two rivals can face each other again this year would be an outside chance of them squaring off in the state Final Four playoff round.
"I'm a senior and beating Lake Placid tonight is something I will always remember," said a jubilant Red Storm captain Sara Preston. "Unless we both make it to the Final Four, this was my last game against Lake Placid. It feels great."
Saranac Lake improved to 7-4 in league play and 8-5 overall, while Lake Placid fell to 3-8 in the league and 6-8 overall.
Saranac Lake 3, Lake Placid 2
1. LP, McConnell (Christy), 14:45.
2. SL, Mueller (Rocque, Preston), 8:30; 3. LP, Puckhaber (Moles), 14:33.
4. SL, Cotter (Covert), 6:25; 5. SL, Patraw (Mueller), 14:45.
Shots on goal: Saranac Lake 22, Lake Placid 21.
Saves: LP, Preston 19; SL, Pittman 19.
The Blue Bombers jumped on top 1-0 when Catherine Valentine scored on a power play with only 15 seconds remaining in the opening period off an assist from Megan Cristy.
Red Storm forward Megan Mueller found the back of the net to deadlock the contest 1-1 at the 8:30 mark of the second period with assists going to Maddie Rocque and Preston.
The Blue Bombers then reclaimed the lead with another power-play goal, which came off the stick of Sam Puckhaber at the 14:27 mark of the second period.
Trailing 2-1 entering the third period, the Red Storm netted the final two goals of the game to prevail. MacKenize Cotter the equalizer at the 6:25 mark of the period with Alex Covert assisting.
Patraw then buried the winning goal with the clock winding down and Mueller attacking the Lake Placid net guarded by goaltender Chelsea Preston.
"Before the third period, we talked about putting pressure on their net," said Saranac Lake assistant coach Brian Battistoni. "We fell behind twice, but we kept on working. We just kept digging and digging and digging. The kids never quit."
Saranac Lake outshot Lake Placid 22-21 in the evenly-played matchup. Red Storm goaltender Ashley Pittman made 19 saves, including some big stops early to keep her team in the game. Preston also stopped 19 shots in a losing effort for the Blue Bombers.
"This was an important game for us in the league standings," said Lake Placid coach Sandy Payne. "It was a tough loss. We played a good game. Saranac Lake has a very well conditioned team, and I think we just ran out of gas in the end."
Saranac Lake will be back at home Friday to face Saint Lawrence Central, with the opening faceoff slated for 4 p.m. Lake Placid will be back in action again tonight when they face Canton at Ogdensburg's Rink, starting at 4 p.m.