SARANAC LAKE - Lake Placid took first place in the second annual Casey McHugh Memorial Hockey Tournament at the Saranac Lake Civic Center this weekend.
The Blue Bombers earned the title in the points-based tournament for the second year in a row after beating Niskayuna-Schenectady on Friday and Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa on Saturday.
Overall, Lake Placid garnered eight points while Saranac Lake tallied six, Burnt Hills finished with five and Niskayuna earned two. Teams were awarded two points for a win and one for winning a period.
Lake Placid’s Keegan Barney, right, battles with Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa’s Ian Speck Saturday afternoon. Barney was named tournament most valuable player after leading his team to the Casey McHugh Memorial Tournament championship at the Saranac Lake Civic Center.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
On Saturday, for the second consecutive game, the Blue Bombers jumped out to an early lead on the way to their 5-4 victory over Burnt Hills.
The Blue Bombers scored four goals in the first period to take a 4-2 advantage heading into the second. Eddie Kane netted two goals in the opening period, while RJ Reid and Nzoni Thompson each scored once.
Thompson's goal came just over 13 minutes into the game when he put the puck in the top shelf on a shot from the blue line to give Lake Placid a 3-2 lead.
Less than a minute later, Kane score his second goal for a 4-2 advantage.
"It feels good to win SL's tournament," Kane said. "They are the host and our rival, so it feels good to win their tournament two years in a row."
Neither team was able to score in the second period, but Lake Placid coach Keith Clark liked what he saw from his team during that period.
"I thought our second period was our best period," he said. "Even though we outplayed them 4-2 (in the first), they had their backup netminder (playing), and we got a couple of goals and we stopped playing. That's something we talked about as a team. We have to be more consistent."
Clark noted that his team outshot its opponent 9-3 in the second period and 20-8 in the third period.
"The ice was titled. We were in their end a lot," Clark said. "We were reading off each other a lot better, so I was happy with our second and relatively happy with our third period. So that's good to build on, even though the result wasn't there in those periods, the play was. We played better."
In the third period, Burnt Hills got back into the game behind goals from Trey Swingruber and Nick Van Liew, whose goal cut the lead to one with just over a minute left.
But a goal early in the third period from tournament most valuable player Keegan Barney gave the Blue Bombers enough of a cushion to pull off the win.
"They came out, (and) I think they got a couple of fluke goals on us (early)," Burnt Hills coach Jim Buffoline said. "Usually, our goalie will make those kind of saves. The goalie we had in in the first period, he's young. It's only his first high school game. I think he's was a little nervous."
Burnt Hills goalie Ben Koszelak finished with nine saves in the first period, while teammate Austin Clark had nine saves in the second and 19 in the third.
Blue Bomber goalie Tucker Angelopoulos earned the win with 16 saves.
"Saranac Lake is a great host and we love coming over to this tournament," Clark said. "We won it last year and to defend and win it again, we're happy obviously. To start out with two wins on the road. It's a tough (place) to play in, so we're real pleased."
Red Storm battle for win
In the second game of the afternoon Saturday, Saranac Lake defeated Niskayuna 6-5.
Early on, the game looked like it was going to be an easy win for the Red Storm as they rolled to a 4-0 lead late in the first period, but Niskayuna fought back to tie the game at 5-5 by the final period.
"I thought we had a great start to this afternoon's game. We picked up where we left off in the third period with all that momentum and a terrific comeback in last night's game," said Saranac Lake coach Will Ellsworth, referring to his team's three third period goals Friday night. "We got off to that four-goal start and then we had some defensive lapses. The story of this game this afternoon was those defensive lapses. Our guys got comfortable when we were up by three or four goals and we can't be doing that ... but once again we found a way to get the W. We had our captain step up. He had a great performance."
Saranac Lake was lead by senior captain Grant Strack who finished with a hat trick. Strack scored five goals in the tournament and also had an assist Saturday.
Perhaps his most important goal came on a power play 9:36 into the final period, with Blake Battistoni picking up the assist. That goal broke the 5-5 tie to give the Red Storm the win.
"The goalie was kind of weak. He gave up a lot of rebounds," Strack said. "So I just wanted to get to the net and I got a good bounce and it went in."
Brad Shumway and Battistoni scored the Red Storm's other two goals. Nick Bayruns and Deryck Huyck each had an assist while Shumway and Quinn Urquhart each had two assists.
Niskayuna was led by Lucas Maloney, who finished with a hat trick. Joshua Kim and Jake Miller also had a goal apiece.
Saranac Lake goalie Blake Darrah recorded 25 saves, while Niskayuna's Spencer Moran finished with 13.
Ellsworth said the key early on for the Red Storm was that they were playing more relaxed and their passes were accurate.
"We weren't panicking with the puck. We were finding the open man," he said. "I think that was the key to get those four goals. Our gameplan was to get pucks to the net for rebounds and we did that to get off to the four goal start."