LAKE PLACID - Sixteen young, talented hockey players from the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference. That's the makeup of the Plattsburgh Roadrunners, a team that's heading to the 2013 Under-16 Boys National Championships.
The squad, which is led by head coach Keith Clark of Lake Placid and includes players from the Blue Bombers, Saranac Lake, Beekmantown, Plattsburgh and other area high schools, will compete in the U16 national championship tournament April 3-7 in Troy, Mich.
Members on the team from Lake Placid are Tucker Angelopolous, Kiefer Casler, Evan Damp, Connor Preston, Nzoni Thompson and Chris Williams. Chris Spicer will represent Saranac Lake.
Members of the Plattsburgh Roadrunners under-16 hockey team, pictured at the Olympic Center’s 1980 Herb Brooks Arena, will compete in the national championships April 3-7 in Troy, Mich. Team members are Nathan Foster, Eric Bechard, Ryan Whalen, Chis Spicer, Connor Preston, Kyle Constanty, Jon Fine-Lease, Devin Clark, Kiefer Casler, Noah Gagnier, Tristin Archimbault, Andrew Bechard, Chris Wiliams, Michael Stetz, Tucker Angeloupolos, Ryan Damp and Nzoni Thompson. The team is coached by Dave Champagne, Matt Stetz, Keith Clark and Steve Gagnier.
(Photo — Chelsea Preston)
The Roadrunners qualified to represent the New York District in Michigan after finishing runner-up at the state tournament earlier this month in Amherst, where they posted a 2-2-1 record that included a heartbreaking 5-4 loss in double overtime to Cheektowaga in the championship game.
Plattsburgh's exciting run to the state championship final began with two games on Friday, March 15.
The Roadrunners opened with a fantastic finish in their first game, erasing a two-goal deficit late in the third period to earn a 2-2 tie with Nassau. Trailing 2-0, Michael Stetz netted Plattsburgh's first goal with just under three minutes left in the third to make it a 2-1 score. The Roadrunners were then awarded a penalty shot with four-tenths-of-a-second remaining when a Nassau defender dislodged his team's net under pressure from the Roadrunners. With a chance to tie the game, Beekmantown's Nate Foster buried the penalty shot to give the Roadrunners the tie.
In their next game, the Roadrunners suffered a 3-2 loss to Clarence, the top-seeded squad in the West region. On Saturday, the Roadrunners topped the Long Island Rebels 7-1 to reach Sunday's semifinal round, where they blanked the Long Island 4-0.
In the championship game, the Roadrunners battled back from 3-1 and 4-2 deficits, ultimately tying the contest at 4-4 with their goalie pulled to force overtime. Cheektowaga, however, netted the game-winner in the second overtime period.
"We put this team together to try and supplement the high school schedule and give these players some more quality games," Clark said. "We had plenty of quality players but really never anticipated being so close in the state championships.
"What a great honor to be able to represent the New York District in the national tournament," Clark added. "We will go with the attitude of enjoying the experience and competing hard."