Chiefs respond in a big way

Saranac Central goalie Macen Mero dives to smother the puck while Cole Jacques (8) and Dustin Patterson apply pressure for Lake Placid during the third period of Monday’s game. Also pictured is Zach O’Connell of the Chiefs. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — For nearly a period and a half on Monday, the Lake Placid hockey team was in contention to win its first game of the season when it hosted Saranac Central.

During the middle of the second period, the Blue Bombers sent home three pucks in a span of just 2:10 to erase a 3-1 deficit and find themselves in the rare position of leading a game this season.

Unfortunately for Lake Placid, Saranac responded in an even faster and bigger fashion. Trailing 4-3, the Chiefs roared back with seven unanswered goals, including four within a little more than four minutes, to bury the Blue Bombers 10-5 in a Champlain Valley Athletic Conference matchup at the Olympic Center.

Junior Austin Carpenter nearly took down Lake Placid single-handly, finishing with a whopping seven goals for the Chiefs. Zach O’Connell added two tallies, Todd Heywood scored once after returning from an injury, and Macen Mero made 41 saves to earn the win between the pipes in a game that saw the teams combine to put 86 shots on net.

“Their No. 6 (Carpenter) has killed us for four years,” lamented Lake Placid head coach Butch Martin. “I asked him after the game how many goals he has against us in his career. He’s up in the 20s.”

Blue Bombers senior captain Hayden Plank and teammate Brendan Bullock chase an airborne puck along with Saranac Central’s Aiden Recore (17) and Garrett Adolfo. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Tyler Hinckley netted his 12th and 13th goals of the season to lead Lake Placid, and Hayden Plank, Patrick VanNess and Hunter Spotts each found the back of the net once for the Blue Bombers, who fell to 0-17-1 overall.

The Blue Bombers honored their five seniors prior to opening faceoff of their last home game of the season, and Plank, the team’s captain, kicked off the the scoring 4:54 into the contest to lift Lake Placid to a 1-0 lead. The Chiefs then stormed back, getting goals from O’Connell, Carpenter and Heywood to carry a 3-1 edge into the first intermission.

Although the Blue Bombers trailed in the opening period, they were playing good hockey and out shot the Chiefs, firing 13 shots at Mero. They really turned up the heat in the second and finally started finding the back of the net. VanNess, a junior, scored at the 7:26 mark, to make it a 3-2 game, and then Hinckley tallied twice in less than a minute. The junior evened the score at 3-3 at at 8:29 mark with his first of the night, and then knocked in another puck less than a minute later to put Lake Placid on top 4-3 off assist from Cole Jacques and Hunter Wilmot.

The walls then caved in on the hosts, who ultimately left the Chiefs unguarded too many times on the doorstep in front of sophomore goaltender Anders Stanton. Once Carpenter netted his second of the game at the 11:28 mark of the second period to forge a 4-4 deadlock Saranac Central never let up. O’Connell netted his second of the game 23 seconds later to lift the Chiefs back into the lead, and Carpenter scored two more times before the period ended to complete his first natural hat trick of the evening.

Carpenter then went on to notch another natural hat trick to account for all three Saranac goals in the final period. Trailing 10-4, Lake Placid scored the final goal of the night when Spotts buried a slapshot from the point on a power-play with 30 seconds left in the game with Warren Clark and Plank assisting on the play.

Tyler Hinckley and Lake Placid teammates, from the left, Hunter Wilmot, Cole Jacques and Dustin Patterson celebrate their fourth goal of the game that gave the Blue Bombers a brief lead in the second period.

Chiefs’ coach Brett Giroux said he was thrilled with the way his first line of Carpenter, Heywood and Hayden Buckley meshed following Heywood’s multi-week absence from the lineup. Heywood finished with five assists and Buckley chipped in with a pair.

After watching the Blue Bombers score three quick goals in the second period, Giroux called a timeout to regroup his players. For about a minute after the stoppage, Lake Placid continued to buzz the Saranac net, but the Chiefs were able to turn things around in a hurry.

“I thought everything was going wrong for us,” Giroux said. “We needed to pull back, get the guys settled and back on track. I just told them that you have to start working harder, get to loose pucks and we’ll be fine.

“Stuff like that happens, teams go on runs, so the best thing to do is shut it down and take the momentum away from them,” Giroux added. “Fortunately we got it back.”

With the win, Saranac improved to 2-5 in CVAC play and 6-11 overall.

“Our first line really got it going, and our second line got a lot of shots too,” Giroux said. “Offensively I thought we really moved the puck well, and we took smart shots. That’s good to see a week before sectionals. That’s probably the best I’ve seen from our offense all year.”

In addition to Plank, Monday’s game was the last time fellow seniors Jacques, Jarrett Hathaway and Hunter Spotts stepped on the 1932 ice sheet to compete in a high school contest. Before the game, the Blue Bombers also recognized their fifth senior, Cooper Holmes, whose season ended two weeks ago with a broken wrist.

“I feel bad for our seniors. They all worked their tails off for us tonight, and Hinckley and Wilmot played hard. Everybody played hard,” Martin said. “It’s just really tough to come back and get a lead like that and see it go away shortly thereafter

. “We just told the guys (after the game) that that flurry in the second period was as good as we’ve seen played here in a long time,” Martin continued. “You just can’t step back. We had 46 shots tonight. Really, I thought we had it going there. You just can’t step back, We had 46 shots. I just feel really bad. I thought we could have had this one.”

Things do not get any easier for the Blue Bombers, who next are now 0-9 in the CVAC with one game remaining They next play the Plattsburgh Hornets, who lead the CVAC standings and are currently ranked 11th in the state in the New York sports writers poll. That game is slated to take place on Friday in Plattsburgh at the Ameri-Can North Sports Center starting at 7 p.m.

The Chiefs have three games league games remaining. Their matchup slated for tonight in Plattsburgh has been postponed due to the expected storm.

Saranac Central 10, Lake Placid 5

Chiefs 3 4 3 – 10

Blue Bombers 1 3 1 – 5


First Period

1. LP, Plank (Bullock, H. Spotts), 4:54; 2. S, O’Connell (Miner), 7:37; 3. S, Carpenter (Heywood), 9:07; 4. Heywood (Carpenter), 13:44.

Second Period

5. LP, VanNess (Plank, Bullock), 7:27; 6. LP, Hinckley, 8:29; 7. LP, Hinckley (Jacques, Wilmot), 9:36; 8. S, Carpenter, 11:28; 9. S, O’Connell; 11:51; 10. S,Carpenter (Heywood, Buckley), 13:46; 11. S, Carpenter (Heywood, Buckley), 15:33.

Third Period

6. 12. S, Carpenter (Adolfo, Heywood), 2:12, pp; 13. S, Carpenter (Heywood), 4:05, pp; 14: S, Carpenter (Wilson), 14:51; 15. LP, H. Spotts (Clark, Plank), 16:30, pp.

Shots on goal: Lake Placid 46, Saranac Central 40.

Saves: LP, Stanton 30; S, Mero 41.