LAKE PLACID - With a chance to keep pace in a tight Champlain Valley Athletic Conference race, Lake Placid's hockey team stumbled out of the gate in a 4-2 loss to Plattsburgh Thursday at the Olympic Center.
Plattsburgh raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, and after the Blue Bombers scored twice in the third to cut their deficit to a single goal, the Hornets clinched the win on an empty-netter.
The game was originally scheduled to be played Wednesday but was pushed back one night due to a wave of illness that swept through the Hornets' lineup.
Lake Placid’s Keegan Barney swipes at the puck carried by Plattsburgh’s Andrew Bechard during Thursday’s game at the Olympic Center.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
With the victory, Plattsburgh held its lead at the top of the CVAC standings by improving to 5-1 and 9-3 overall, while Lake Placid fell to 1-2-1 in the league and 7-3-1 overall.
"We all knew how important this game was, and with that in mind, we really asked the guys to be focused and ready to play," Lake Placid head coach Keith Clark said. "That was not the case, and Plattsburgh made us pay. They were ready and we weren't."
Four different players found the back of the net for the Hornets, who got on the board 2:49 into the game on a goal from Alex Matson. Plattsburgh then tacked on two more goals late in the period, with Devin Clarke tallying at the 10:32 mark and Andrew Bechard pushing the Hornets' edge to 3-0 when he scored at the 11:39 mark.
After a scoreless second stanza, and with the clock winding down in the third, Lake Placid finally started to get going on offense. Senior Eddie Kane put the Blue Bombers on the board midway through the period when he took control of the puck near center ice, broke through the Plattsburgh defense and beat goalie Giancarlo Ventre with a wrist shot. The goal was Kane's team-leading 12th of the season and was unassisted.
The game got even tighter when Lake Placid sophomore Nzoni Thompson tipped in a shot at the 10:43 mark with Keegan Barney and Ryan Damp assisting on the play to make it a 3-2 contest. The Blue Bombers continued to press and nearly tied the score with just under two minutes left on the clock when Kane skated over the Hornets' blue line along the left boards, cut to the net and fired a wrist shot that rattled off the goal post.
Lake Placid pulled sophomore goalie Tucker Angelopolous with 1:07 remaining for an extra attacker, but any threat of the Blue Bombers forcing overtime ended when Alex Matson sent the puck from deep in the Hornets' end of the rink into the empty net with 25 seconds remaining to make the score a 4-2 final.
"We needed to win this to hold our position at the top of the standings, and we came out flying," Plattsburgh head coach Jamie Reidy said. "The story of this game was the first period. We created some nice scoring chances and got some bounces.
"Anytime you go into another team's barn and win, that's big, especially against a quality team like the Bombers," Reidy added. "We're still playing with a short roster. We were skating with eight or nine guys in practice this week, and we really appreciate the fact that coach Clark moved this game back a day."
"We had a nice third period, but that was too little too late and that's getting old," Clark said. "In this league, with how tight it is this season, you have to play three full periods."
Lake Placid outshot Plattsburgh in all three periods and held a 26-19 edge in shots on goal. Ventre, who is a freshman, recorded 24 saves to earn the win while Angelopolous stopped 14 shots for the Blue Bombers.
In addition to scoring a goal, Andrew Bechard, who is one of two eighth-graders on the Hornets' roster, notched a pair of assists to finish as the game's top scorer. Fine-Lease and Matson also added an assist each for two-point performances.
Plattsburgh will next be at home Saturday for a non-league matchup against Malone. Lake Placid will also be at home for its next start, which will be Monday against Norwoord-Norfolk with the opening faceoff slated for 2 p.m.
Plattsburgh 4, Lake Placid 2
1. P, Fine-Lease (E. Bechard, A. Bechard), 2:49; 2. P, Clarke (A. Bechard, Giroux), 10:32; 3. P, A. Bechard (Matson, Fine-Lease), 11:39.
4. LP, Kane, 7:12; 5. LP, Thompson (Barney, Damp), 10:43; 6. P, Matson, 14:35, eng.
Shots on goal: Lake Placid 26, Plattsburgh 19.
Saves: P, Ventre 24; LP, Angelopolous 15.