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Outgunned Blue Bombers fall to Saranac Central

Lake Placid goalkeeper Jack Armstrong leaps in traffic to snag a corner kick during the opening half of Thursday’s match against Saranac Central. Armstrong finished with 21 saves in the Blue Bombers 3-1 setback. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid boys soccer team dropped its second match in as many games, falling 3-1 to a strong Saranac Central squad Thursday on home turf at the North Elba Show Grounds field.

The Chiefs scored a goal in the opening half and notched two more in the second before Joose Kahkonen buried a shot late in the game for Lake Placid.

Nick Hamel netted Saranac’s first two goals, which both came on assists from Brian Balch. Zashon Abrams also found the back of the net for the winners, who evened their record at 1-1.

Hamel picked up a through ball from Balch and marched in alone on Blue Bombers keeper Jack Armstrong to bury a shot 14:09 into the match for the Chiefs first goal.

Hamel then tallied his second just 12 seconds after intermission from in close, and Abrams upped his team’s edge to 3-0 on a goal 25:40 into the second half with Alex Strack earning the assist.

Kahkonen rounded out the scoring on his marker with 7:44 left on the clock on an assist from Matt Brandes.

Simply put, the Chiefs were bigger, stronger and more experienced than the Blue Bombers. Lake Placid head coach Stuart Hemsley said Armstrong helped keep the score a lot closer than the contest actually appeared.

Saranac Central put 25 shots on goal and Armstrong finished with 21 saves.

“It was ugly but it could have been so much worse,” Hemsley said. “Armstrong played a heck of a game. He’s got great hands and he’s not afraid to get in there and get the ball. He didn’t have a chance with any of the goals that were scored.

“This match came down to their seniors against a very inexperienced Lake Placid team,” Hemsley added. “They were first to every ball, they got to the second ball, we didn’t pass the ball well and they enjoyed playing on a beautiful field.”

Lake Placid finished with nine shots. Branden Ashley was credited with eight saves to earn the win in nets for Saranac.

Hemsley said it’s time for the Blue Bombers to regroup and prepare for their next match, which will be on the road Wednesday against rival Saranac Lake. The game will be the Red Storm’s season-opener and takes place at the Petrova Ave. field starting at 4 p.m.

“We have a battle with our local neighbors on Wednesday and we can’t be second to anything against Saranac Lake,” Hemsley said. “Our defense will tighten up, it’s a reshuffle of the cards and hopefully we’ll have a little bit better competition with my young fast players. We lost the ball at midfield a lot today, which gave us a problem. We couldn’t get it up to our front guys.”

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