Red Storm drop CVAC hockey opener
SARANAC LAKE – Plattsburgh got off to a quick start with two goals in the first period and then came up with the game-winner in the second to notch a 3-2 victory over Saranac Lake in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference opener for both teams Wednesday.
Trailing 2-0, the host Red Storm tied the contest with a pair of quick goals early in the second, but they couldn’t hold on as Jack Tolosky buried a shot at the 9:10 mark of the stanza to lift the Hornets to the win.
After being outshot 16-5 in the middle period and giving up the go-ahead goal, Saranac Lake picked things up on offense in the third period but couldn’t come up with the equalizer. In the battle between two young teams that both lost a slew of players from a year ago, the Hornets finished with a 39-24 advantage in shots on goal.
“We knew that Plattsburgh didn’t have a deep bench, and we knew that they would come at us with everything they had during the first 15 minutes of the game,” Saranac Lake head coach Will Ellsworth said. “They came at us hard. As the game progressed, we played much better.”
Plattsburgh, which improved to 1-1 overall, got goals from three different players. Junior Eric Bechard put the Hornets on the board when he scored 7:36 into the game, and less than two minutes later, Kurtis Olsen buried a shot to lift Plattsburgh to a two-goal edge.
Saranac Lake responded with two beautiful goals early in the second period to deadlock the game. Senior Chris Spicer netted the Red Storm’s first just 31 seconds into the stanza. On the play, Spicer got past the Hornets defense, scooped up a pass from David Cluckey and top-shelved a shot over Plattsburgh goalie Dean Dashnaw for a breakaway tally. Saranac Lake senior goalie Blake Darrah also picked up an assist on the goal.
Cluckey, a senior, also assisted on Saranac Lake’s second goal, which was scored by Blake Battistoni at the 3:59 mark of the period. Later in the period, Plattsburgh had a five-on-three advantage for 41 seconds but was unable to score. Tolosky, however, did come through with what proved to be the game-winner just after Saranac Lake killed off the penalties when he snuck a shot through Darrah’s pads at the 9:10 mark with Bechard and John Fine-Lease assisting on the play.
Holding a 3-2 lead, Plattsburgh kept Saranac Lake off the board the rest of the way to escape with the win. The Red Storm outshot the Hornets 11-8 in the final period looking to forge a tie.
“This team is a total makeover from last year,” Plattsburgh coach Jamie Reidy said. “Like Saranac Lake we are young, and whenever you can win on the road in the CVAC, especially in Saranac Lake, it’s a big two points. We got off to a good start and were able to ride that to a win.”
“We’re pretty strong on defense with Darrah in the net, and he helped us weather the storm early,” Ellsworth said. “We’re not going to score a lot of goals, so you will see a lot of low scoring, close games with us this year. The key for us will be getting shots through opposing defenses. We net to gets shots on the net.”
Playing a role in all three tallies, Bechard finished with a goal and two assists to lead the Hornets.
Saranac Lake next plays two non-league games at home over the weekend. The Red Storm hosts Cortland-Homer Friday starting at 6:30 p.m. and then plays Mahopac Saturday with the opening faceoff slated for 4 p.m. Plattsburgh’s next game will also be a non-league affair as Niskayuna visits the Ameri-Can North Sports Center Saturday.
Plattsburgh 3, Saranac Lake 2
1. PHS, Bechard (Tolosky, Olsen), 7:36; 2. PHS, Olsen (Fine-Lease, Bechard), 8:50.
3. SL, Spicer (Cluckey, Darrah), :31; 4. SL, Battistoni (Cluckey), 3:59; 5. PHS, Tolosky (Bechard, Fine-Lease), 9:10.
Shots on goal: Plattsburgh 38, Saranac Lake 24.