SARANAC LAKE - The stands are always packed when the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid hockey teams square off at the Civic Center.
The fans weren't disappointed on Wednesday when the rivals met there for the first time this season, and there was plenty to cheer about on both sides as the teams played to a 2-2 deadlock.
Eddie Kane and Dillon Savage notched goals for the visiting Blue Bombers, Brad Shumway and Quinn Urquhart scored for the Red Storm. Both teams got standout performances from their goaltenders.
Saranac Lake’s Chris Spicer gets upended in the Lake Placid zone during the third period of Wednesday’s game at the Saranac Lake Civic Center.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Saranac Lake entered the game with a depleted roster. Coach Will Ellsworth said he was very pleased with the effort turned in by his team, which was forced to skate with just two forward lines and two sets of defensemen.
"I think this was a moral victory for us," Ellsworth said. "Last year, we were flying high because we could skate with three lines, but that's just not the case this year. With two lines and four defensemen, we're just looking to keep it close and hopefully come out on top in one-goal games.
"It was a playoff atmosphere in here tonight," Ellsworth added. "There was a great fan base, a lot of up-and-down play and not many whistles."
It had been 19 days since Saranac Lake's last game, and the Blue Bombers were coming off a weeklong layoff. Both teams, however, came out skating hard.
After sitting out the last game with a shoulder injury, Kane put the Blue Bombers on top 1-0 with 6:35 gone in the second period when he beat Red Storm goalie Blake Darrah up high on the short side of the net with a wrist shot. Shane McNierney and Connor Preston assisted on the goal.
It took Saranac Lake just 40 seconds to answer when Urquhart beat Lake Placid goalie Jeff Smith on a shot from along the left boards with Christian Thomas and Chris Spicer assisting on the goal.
The Red Storm then took advantage of a power-play opportunity to go ahead 2-1 early in the third period after Savage went to the penalty box on an interference call. Shumway got the goal, scoring just six seconds into the man advantage on a slapshot from the blue line 2:02 into the stanza with Urquhart picking up the assist.
Savage, however, made up for his trip, scoring the equalizer at the 6:24 mark of the third with Kane assisting.
Play was even during the first two periods, with Lake Placid holding a 15-13 edge in shots over the first 30 minutes of the game. But fatigue appeared to set in for Saranac Lake in the final stanza, as the Blue Bombers held a 13-3 advantage in shots down the stretch before the game went into an extra five-minute sudden-death overtime.
The Red Storm outshot the Blue Bombers 5-3 in sudden-death.
With the tie, both teams now have 1-1-1 records in what is looking to be a very tight race in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference.
Darrah made 30 saves in goal for Saranac Lake and Smith recorded 20 stops between the pipes for Lake Placid.
"It was a good battle. I thought both teams played really hard tonight," Lake Placid head coach Keith Clark said. "It was a typical rivalry game.
"I felt we were in their zone more, but we were having trouble creating quality chances," Clark continued. "Saranac Lake did a great job of blocking shots, and we didn't get to the net effectively. Overall, it was a solid effort by not the result we wanted. This game shows how tight the CVAC is shaping up."
Both teams play their next games on Wednesday in key CVAC matchups at home. The Red Storm will put their 3-2-3 overall record on the line when they host Beekmantown, while the 7-2-1 Blue Bombers will host Plattsburgh High School.
Saranac Lake 2, Lake Placid 2, OT
1. LP, Kane (McNierney, Preston), 6:35; 2. SL, Urquhart (Thomas, Spicer), 7:15.
3. SL, Shumway (Urquhart), 2:02, pp; 4. LP, Savage (Kane), 6:24.
Shots on goal: Lake Placid 32, Saranac Lake 22
Saves: LP, Smith 20; SL, Darrah 30.