Rye downs Red Storm to take Lake Placid Winter Carnival tourney

Saranac Lake’s Stephen Huyck follows through on a slapshot during the third period of Saturday’s game at the Olympic Center’s 1932 Rink. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — With a chance to add a tournament title to its accomplishments so far this season, the Saranac Lake boys hockey team fell short on Saturday, dropping a 3-1 decision to Rye in the last of three games played in the annual Lake Placid Winter Carnival tournament at the Olympic Center.

Holding a 1-0 lead after scoring the only goal of the first period, Rye essentially put the game away by scoring two goals in a span of just seven seconds late in the middle period to grab a 3-0 advantage. Senior Alex Dukette answered with Saranac Lake’s only goal of the game with 53 seconds left in the stanza, but the Red Storm was unable to find the back of the net again as the Garnets captured the title with two wins.

Both teams defeated Lake Placid earlier in the tournament. Saranac Lake topped the Blue Bombers 8-3 on Thursday in what was a Champlain Valley Athletic Conference and a tournament game, and Rye followed with a 7-1 victory over Lake Placid Friday evening.

The Garnets jumped out a 1-0 advantage over the Red Storm on a goal by Jason Luci with 1:11 remaining in the opening period. They then took control by converting two breakaways into goals in the second period, starting with a tally from Graham Ross at the 11:35 mark. Rye then won the ensuring faceoff at center ice, and this time, Declan LaVelle picked up the puck, beared down on Saranac Lake goalie Bruno Freeman and beat the senior on a shot from the doorstep.

Dukette got the Red Storm closer on a goal assisted by Austen Reyell and Rhett Darrah, but Saranac Lake was blanked from there on the way to falling to 7-7-3 overall.

Alex Dukette of Saranac Lake stretches for the puck while confronting Rye’s Declan LaVelle during Saturday’s game at the Olympic Center. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Saranac Lake outshot Rye 24-21, which included a 12-4 edge in the final stanza as the Red Storm looked to get back into the game.

Rye goalie Annabelle Thomas turned in a sparkling performance, finishing with 23 saves to earn the win between the pipes.

“She always plays well for us,” Rye head coach Peter Thomas said. “Our goal coming up here was to perform well and go back home with a tournament win. We accomplished that goal. We knew Saranac was going to be a little more of a challenge today and we upped our game.

“For the most part, I think we did a good job getting pucks deep on them and putting pressure on them, and making them try to really work hard to break the pucks out,” Thomas added. “That paid dividends for us. I think that was the difference in the game.”

Saranac Lake head coach Will Ellsworth said he was impressed with the Garnets, who compete in Section IX as a Division II team.

“We kind of let them dictate play,” Ellsworth said. “The thing I like about Rye is they had so much composure with the puck. They knew where each other was and they didn’t hesitate. They trusted each other in every zone of the ice tonight. They had some nice defensemen and they could all move the puck.

“As far as a positional standpoint, they are a stay at home team,” Ellsworth added. “They didn’t stray away from their positions, and that’s something I’d like to take out of the game going into our playoffs. They didn’t blink an eye when things went wrong.”

Ellsworth credited Dukette and defenseman Quin Peer for steady performances in Saturday’s contest. Freeman finished with 18 saves in goal for the Red Storm.

Saranac Lake has two games on tap this week to close out the regular season. Monday’s non-league home game against St. Lawrence Central was postponed. The Red Storm return to Champlain Valley Athletic Conference play on the road Wednesday against Plattsburgh and will host Beekmantown Friday to close out its CVAC schedule on Feb. 15.