SARANAC LAKE - Starting Wednesday's game with a very thin lineup, Saranac Lake's boys hockey team knew it had a difficult task in store when the high-flying Beekmantown Eagles visited the Civic Center.
Saranac Lake hung tough for more than half the game, but there wasn't much the Red Storm could do down the stretch as the Eagles powered they way to a 4-0 victory.
Kyle Bisonette scored two goals, Cole Carter and Austin Bradish added single tallies and junior netminder Dustin Plumadore recorded his fourth shutout of the season as Beekmantown won for the fourth time in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference action.
Saranac Lake junior goalie Blake Darrah skates out to the blue line to clear the puck away from Beekmantown’s Cole Carter during Wednesdy’s game. Darrah later left the game after a collision with the Eagles captain.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
The Eagles are now tied at the top of the league standings with Plattsburgh with a 4-1 record and are 9-2 overall. Saranac Lake dropped to 3-3-3 overall with the loss and 1-2-1 in the CVAC.
The setback could be even more devastating for the Red Storm after two key players were knocked out of their depleted lineup during the game. Senior defenseman Nick Bayruns and starting goalie Blake Darrah both suffered head injuries in the game, which left just 13 players on the bench when the final buzzer sounded.
"We're dropping like flies," Saranac Lake head coach Will Ellsworth said. "We started with a short bench, and we were right in there for the first period and a half. Beekmantown is a deep team, they skated four lines, and they are traditionally a very physical team. It turned out to be a tough night."
The first period was played evenly, with the Eagles holding an 8-6 edge in shots on goal. But as the game progressed, it was evident that Saranac Lake wasn't going to be able to hang with Beekmantown, which grabbed a 1-0 edge in the second period and pulled away by scoring three more goals in less than three minutes late in the final stanza.
All four goals resulted from the Eagles driving hard to the net. Bisonette put Beekmantown on the board 3:31 into the second period, and notched his second at the 9:48 mark of the third for a 2-0 Beekmantown lead. Carter then lifted Beekmantown to a 3-0 advantage at the 11:48 mark on a play that knocked Darrah out of the game, and Bradish sent home the final tally with 2:29 remaining.
Beekmantown outshot Saranac Lake 39-14, including a 27-8 advantage in shots on goal during the final two periods.
"It was really close in the first period, but we knew if we kept at it the goals would come," Beekmantown head coach Justin Frechette said. "We just kept dumping it in down low, cycling the puck and forechecking.
"I'm really proud of the boys," Frechette added. "Saranac Lake is really tough to beat in this rink, and we just kept on them. We just wore them down with our depth. I think that was very evident in the shots on goal as the game progressed."
An early goal would have benefitted Saranac Lake. The Red Storm, however, came up empty against Plumadore on some quality scoring chances. Saranac Lake was also unable to convert on its six power-play opportunities.
After getting hurt in the first period, Bayruns' night ended in the middle stanza. Darrah, who sparkled all game in goal to keep it close, left the game with 3:12 remaining in the final period when he was flattened in the crease by Cole after the Eagles' captain scored.
"Beekmantown goes hard to the net," Ellsworth said. "Their last three goals were garbage goals they scored from right in front. They play hard and they skate fast."
With the status of Darrah and Bayruns uncertain, Ellsworth and the Red Storm appear to have some big holes to fill on the roster. Darrah made 34 saves before leaving the ice. He was replaced by Justin Farmer, who finally saw his first varsity action in his second season with the Red Storm.
Saranac Lake next plays Friday and Saturday in Ogdensburg's annual Brian Wade Tournament. The Red Storm will take on Ogdensburg Friday at 6 p.m. and then face the combined Thousand Islands-Alexandria Bay team Saturday starting at 12:30 p.m. Beekmantown's next game will be Friday on the road against Niskayuna.
Beekmantown 4, Saranac Lake 0
1. B, Bisonette (Bradish), 3:31
2. B, Bisonette (Carter, Barriere), 9:48; 3. B, Carter, 11:48; Bradish (Foster), 12:21.
Shots on goal: Beekmantown 39, Saranac Lake 14
Saves: B, Plumadore 14; SL, Darrah 34, Farmer 1