LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid boys hockey team blanked Saranac Central 4-0 Tuesday evening on home ice at the Olympic Center in a Section VII quarterfinal playoff matchup.
After the teams played scoreless in the opening period, the Blue Bombers notched two goals each in the second and third periods to advance to a semifinal game Thursday at Saranac Lake. Dylan Savage scored both second-period goals for Lake Placid and Haille Thompson and RJ Reid each netted a third-period tally as the Blue Bombers improved to 9-8-3 overall.
With the setback, the Chiefs ended a tough season winless in 17 games.
Lake Placid’s Haille Thompson looks to clear the puck from his team’s zone while Tyler Aubin of Saranac closes in on the play during Tuesday’s game at the Olympic Center. Thompson scored his first varsity goal during the final period.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
"I think Saranac played hard during the first half of the game," said Blue Bombers head coach Keith Clark. "It's playoff hockey and you never know what is going to happen. They have a good goalie, and it was nice to see us start to get some traffic in front of him.
"We played a really solid second period and came out with some jump in the third period," Clark added. "We started possessing the puck better and started going to the net. I thought we turned this game in the second period, and we carried that over into the third period."
Savage netted what proved to be the game-winner 4:27 into the second period when he fired the puck toward the net, and it was deflected past Saranac goaltender Dustin Plumadore. The goal came on a Lake Placid power play and was assisted by Dustin Jacques and Reid. Savage then lifted Lake Placid to a 2-0 edge at the 9:46 mark on an unassisted goal from in close. The goals were the sixth and seventh of the season for Savage, a freshman forward.
Lake Placid 4, Saranac Central 0
1. LP, Savage (D. Jacques, Reid), 4:27, pp; 2. LP, Savage, 9:46.
3. LP, H. Thompson, 3:23; 4. LP, Reid (Williams), 6:09.
Shots on goal: Lake Placid 39, Saranac Central 14.
Saves: S, Plumadore 35; LP, Hayes 14.
Lake Placid unleashed 18 shots on goal during the stanza.
Thompson, a sophomore, then gave the Blue Bombers a 3-0 cushion when he scored 3:23 into the third period. On the play, Thompson went on an end-to-end rush, and was joined by two teammates on a three-on-one break into the Saranac zone. Thompson held onto the puck and fired a wrist shot into the net that beat Plumadore on the stick side. The goal was the first career varsity tally for Thompson, who is a defenseman.
Reid then rounded out the scoring when he buried a puck less than three minutes later to make the score a 4-0 final in favor of the Blue Bombers. Johnny Williams picked up the assist on the play.
Lake Placid outshot Saranac in all three periods and wound up with a 39-14 advantage in shots on goal. Senior Brady Hayes made 14 shots to earn the shutout in nets for Lake Placid, while Plumadore recorded 35 saves for the Chiefs, who saw their season come to an end.
The win was Lake Placid's third in as many games over the Chiefs this season.
With the win, the Blue Bombers advance to play the rival Red Storm for the third time this season in a matchup Thursday at the Saranac Lake Civic Center beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Saranac Lake is the second-seed in the playoffs, with Beekmantown the top seed. Saranac Lake beat Lake Placid in two previous meetings this season by a combined 14-4 score.
"When you play Saranac Lake, you have to go into the game with confidence," Clark said. "I think a win like this should give our players some confidence. Our theme in practice Wednesday is 'get ready for Saranac Lake.' Hopefully, we can carry some momentum from this win into that game."