Red Storm hockey grabs first win
SARANAC LAKE – It took Saranac Lake’s hockey team just 66 seconds to get on the scoreboard against Saranac on Thursday, and the Red Storm never let up on the way to a 5-0 victory on home ice at the Civic Center.
Saranac Lake netted two goals in the opening period and added three more in the third to notch its first win of the season and even its record at 1-1 in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference action.
J.B. Chapin opened the scoring 1:06 into the contest, David Cluckey netted the second Red Storm goal in the middle of the first and Chris Spicer, Blake Battistoni and Brad Shumway each found the back of the net in the third period.
Blake Darrah made 18 saves to earn the shutout win in goal for the Red Storm, who improved to 1-4-1 overall.
“Our gameplan was to go out and really set the tempo in the first five minutes, and then really keep the pressure on them,” Saranac Lake head coach Will Ellsworth said. “We haven’t done that all year. Goals for us have been hard to come by, and it was nice to see us put some points on the board.”
Chapin, who is one of nine freshmen on the roster, gave Saranac Lake a 1-0 edge on a goal assisted by Brett Dawson and Drew Sturgeon. Cluckey then upped the lead to 2-0 at the 8:57 mark of the stanza when he picked up a pass in the slot from Spicer and beat Chiefs goalie Jeff Smith.
After a scoreless middle period, Cluckey and Spicer struck again with just 41 seconds gone in the third. This time, Spicer was credited with the goal after banging home a rebound following a shot from his linemate.
At the 2:49 mark, Battistoni put the game out of reach when he scored on a breakaway.
Saranac Lake’s final goal was both a shocker and a crowd pleaser for the home fans. Shumway, a senior captain, netted the short-handed goal with 2:28 remaining on the clock from just beyond the Red Storm blue line when he blasted a slapshot that rattled off the crossbar and into the net.
“They got on us early,” Saranac head coach Shon Lilledahl said. “When we made mistakes, Saranac Lake capitalized on them. We don’t have a lot of depth, so those mistakes add up. They took us right out of our game.”
Saranac Lake finished with a 22-18 edge in shots on goal. Darrah, a senior, came up big early with some tough saves, and then finished strong with 10 saves in the final period. Smith, a junior who transfered from Lake Placid, recorded 17 saves for the Chiefs.
“Blake kept us in there early,” Ellsworth said. “I thought Saranac played a pretty good second period, and fortunately, we kind of caught fire in the third. Hopefully we can carry the intensity into a big game on Saturday.”
The Red Storm will be at home Saturday to host rival Lake Placid, with the opening faceoff slated for 8 p.m. The game will be one of two benefit contests the two teams will play against each other this season, with the funds raised going to the Wounded Warrior Project. Saranac Lake and Lake Placid will be wearing special camouflage jerseys for both matchups, with the second game taking place on Feb. 7 on the Blue Bombers’ ice at the Olympic Center.
Saranac Lake 5, Saranac 0
1. SL, Chapin (Dawson, D. Sturgeon) 1:06; 2. SL, Cluckey (Spicer), 8:57.
3. SL, Spicer (Cluckey), :41; 4. SL, B. Battistoni, 2:49; 5. SL, Shumway, 12:32, shg.
Shots on goal: Saranac Lake 22, Saranac 18.
Saves: S, Smith 17; SL, Darrah 18.