Round one goes to the Rangers
LAKE PLACID — In a matchup between two state-ranked Division II hockey teams, the Saranac Lake Placid boys had a bad night defensively, falling 8-5 to Spencerport in a non-league game Friday the Olympic Center’s 1932 Rink.
SLP gave up three goals in the first four shots it faced and trailed 3-2 after the first period, and then let the game get away as Spencerport erupted for four more scores in the third stanza.
In a game that was anything but pretty, Ryan Plouffe and Mark Neu both registered hat tricks to lead the Rangers, who improved to 11-2 with the victory. Joey Cuxxopoli and AJ Giannavola added single goals for the winners.
Carter Sturgeon and Rhett Darrah each netted two goals and had two assists for SLP, and Patrick Van Ness also scored his first goal of the season in the loss.
It didn’t take Spencerport long to get on the board as Neu scored on his teams first shot of the night with just 46 gone in the game. SLP controlled much of the play early on, and picked up a pair of goals to grab a 2-1 edge. Sturgeon, a sophomore defender, buried both pucks for SLP on power-play opportunities. He tied the game at the 3:04 mark off assists from Darrah and Dylan Amell, and then lifted the hosts to a 2-1 lead 6:23 into the game.
The Rangers then took over by netting four unanswered goals. Plouffe deadlocked the score at 2-2 with his first tally of the game with 4:01 remaining in the first, and Cuxxopoli put Spencerport ahead for good, lifting his team to a 3-2 lead just 39 seconds later.
Neu lifted the Rangers to a 4-2 edge on the only goal of the second period. Neu’s second tally came 5:33 into the period, and chased SLP starting goaltender Anders Stanton from the net. Stanton gave up four goals on seven shots faced and was replaced after seeing 20:33 of ice time. Brayden Munn took over in goal for SLP and let in three pucks on the 13 shots he faced.
Spencerport struck again quickly in the third period, taking a 5-2 lead when Giannavola beat Munn on a breakaway 53 seconds into the stanza. SLP looked like it could make it a game when Van Ness found the back of the net at the 2:17 mark of the third to cut his team’s deficit to 5-3, but the Rangers netted the next two to put things out of reach, although SLP did answer late in the period to close the gap a bit.
Neu completed his hat trick 4:50 into the third period to up the Rangers edge to 6-3, and Plouffe buried his second goal with 3:54 left on the clock for a 7-3 Spencerport lead.
Darrah then netted two straight goals off assists from Sturgeon to give SLP some life. Darrah scored his 10th of the season at the 12:46 mark, and put another puck in the net 36 seconds later to bring SLP to within 7-5. Plouffe rounded out the scoring, completing his hat trick on an empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining.
SLP finished with a 30-21 advantage in shots on goal. The teams combined for 13 penalties in a game that got chippier as time progressed.
Despite giving up five goals, senior Rachel Brase had a solid performance between the pipes for the Rangers, finishing with 25 saves.
SLP dropped to 8-4 overall with the loss.
The two teams will square off again Saturday at the Olympic Center with the opening faceoff slated for 1 p.m. at the 1932 Rink.