Rangers sweep aside SLP
LAKE PLACID — A big advantage in shots on goal is one thing you love to have in hockey. But that statistic won’t always reveal the outcome of a game.
That was the case for the Saranac Lake Placid boys team at the Olympic Center on Saturday. Despite more than doubling the number of shots on goal registered by Spencerport, SLP suffered a 6-3 setback to the Rangers in a non-league high school matchup at the 1932 Rink.
The win gave Section V’s Spencerport a weekend sweep of Lake Placid in a pair of back-to-back games between state-ranked Division II teams. The Rangers triumphed 8-5 on Friday evening and handed SLP a second straight loss Saturday in a similar fashion on the same ice sheet.
For the second day in a row, Spencerport put SLP in a hole too deep to escape from.
In a game that saw SLP own a 40-19 edge in shots on goal, Spencerport surged out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and held at least a two-goal cushion the rest of the way.
“We were just too inconsistent against a really good hockey team,” SLP head coach Keith Clark said. “There were times, especially in the second and the third when we had the better of the play for big chunks of time, but we’d have a breakdown and they’d make us pay. They were a great team on the rush and when we broke down and allowed them to have numbers on the rush, we got in trouble.”
With their two wins over SLP, the Rangers improved to 13-2 overall. They entered the weekend ranked 14th in the New York State Sportswriters Association poll and fourth among state Division II teams in My Hockey Rankings.
“Our focus is our team speed. We have kids who can move so we have to get them up and going and know what we’re doing with the puck even before we get it,” Spencerport head coach Ryan Ford said. “We’ve been working on that for two-plus years and it’s all starting to gel right now. We’re looking pretty good.”
SLP dropped to 8-5 following Saturday’s loss. The hosts headed into their matchups against Spencerport ranked ninth in the Division II sportswriters poll and 22nd in My Hockey Rankings.
On Friday, Spencerport buried three of its first four shots to take command early. It took the Rangers a little longer Saturday, but not much. They jumped ahead 1-0 on a goal by Luc Fedele 5:45 into the game, and upped the edge to 2-0 less than two minutes later when AJ Giannavola beat SLP starting netminder Braden Munn.
Joey Cuzzopoli scored at the 12:10 mark to send Spencerport into the first intermission on top 3-0.
Junior Andres Stanton replaced Munn in the SLP nets after the opening period.
SLP got a good jump to start the second when Dylan Amell buried his 12th goal of the season 1:28 into the period to make it a 3-1 game. The teams then traded tallies, with Giannavola netting his second of the contest at the 8:30 mark to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead, and sophomore Brendan Bullock answering on his fourth goal of the season with 2:28 remaining to cut SLP’s deficit to 4-2.
The Rangers then put the game away with two more goals scored in rapid succession in the third period. Mark Neu, who recorded a hat trick for Spencerport on Friday, netted his fourth of the weekend 5:26 into the stanza, and Fedele followed with second goal of the afternoon at the 7:16 mark to move the score to 6-2.
Senior Tyler Hinckley netted SLP’s third goal with 3:39 remaining to make it a 6-3 final. The tally was the eighth of the season for Hinckley, a senior at Lake Placid High School.
Hinckley finished with a goal and an assist and Carter Sturgeon and Hunter Wilmot added single assists for SLP.
In addition to scoring twice, Giannavola and Fedele each chipped in two assists to pace Spencerport with a four-point performances. Jason Uebelacker also assisted twice in the win.
Senior Trevor Wiesner stopped 37 of the 40 shots he faced to earn the victory between the pipes. Munn finished with seven saves in the first period for SLP and Stanton made six stops in two periods played.
Despite falling into a 3-0 hole early, SLP was able to play even with Spencerport during the final two periods.
“As a team, once we got through that first period, we started getting our heads in the game, we started putting shots on net, getting bodies to the net,” Hinckley said. We actually worked well with each other. Except for a couple bad bounces, I thought we got the best of them in the second and third periods. We need to get off to better starts.
“They were good at sending guys far and getting the puck to them,” Hinckley continued. “They have a very, very good counter attack. If they got it off our stick on that blue line on our attack, they were going down the ice with speed, and you knew you had to get in front of them.”
Ford said coming to Lake Placid and notching a pair of wins at the Olympic Center certainly provided his players and their fans who traveled from the Rochester area with a weekend to remember.
“To get them up here as a group, getting most of our families to come, and squeaking out two wins, it’s a good weekend for us for sure,” Ford said. “This is a great place to be. I’ve been here a handful of times in my hockey travels, and there’s no place like it anywhere else. To be able to come here and play like we did, represent the game the way we did, I’m happy about that.
“Today, I like the way our team played, and I like the way their team played,” Ford added. “That’s a great team that we played. They have some really good players, great coaching staff, they’ve been nothing but great hosts.”
SLP hopes to turn thing around at the Olympic Center later this week in its next two games that are part of the Lake Placid High School annual Winter Carnival tournament. SLP opens play on Thursday against Norwood-Norfolk starting at 6 p.m., and then takes on Rye on Saturday beginning at noon. Both contests take place at the 1932 Rink.
“Hopefully the boys learn that you have to be steadier, you have to be more consistent if you want to beat a team like that,” Clark said. “We had a good second and third today, but unfortunately, I think we were chasing the game too much. And when you’re chasing good teams like that, it’s hard to prevail.”