SARANAC LAKE - The Northwood School club hockey team posted a 3-1 victory over Saranac Lake in a non-league matchup Friday at the Civic Center.
The Red Storm, who marched all the way to the state final four a year ago and were hit hard by graduation, took a 1-0 lead on an early goal, but the Huskies answered with the next three to improve to 9-6-3. Saranac Lake dropped to 1-2-1 with the loss.
Northwood scored two huge second-period goals and added an empty-netter to claim the win. After Ethan Sawyer scored 3:06 into the game to give the Red Storm the early edge, the Huskies evened the score on a shorthanded tally from Ian Nathan, and jumped ahead when Josh Williams netted what proved to be the game-winner on a breakaway with just one tick left on the second-period clock.
Northwood goalie Corey Leonard holds his ground as Saranac Lake’s first line of Chris Spicer (12), Grant Strack (6) and Quinn Urquhart dig for the puck during the third period of Friday’s game at the Saranac Lake Civic Center.
(Enteprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Josh Williams of Northwood sends the game-winning shot through the pads of Saranac Lake goalie Blake Darrah as the second-period clock expires during Friday’s contest.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Saranac Lake’s Ethan Sawyer attempts to carry the puck between a pair of Northwood defenders during Friday’s game. Sawyer netted the Red Storm’s lone goal during their 3-1 setback.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
In just their fourth start of the season, the Red Storm struggled generating offense and were outshot 27-11.
"This was a gritty win for us," Northwood head coach Jeff Nemec said. "It was a great team win where everybody stepped up and contributed. It's always a big game for us coming to play Saranac Lake. It's a tradition, and they always play physical hockey, especially on their ice."
Sawyer, a sophomore, lifted Saranac Lake into the lead when he scored on an assist from Chris Spicer, a sophomore.
Trailing 1-0 after one period, the Huskies took over in the second stanza. They tied the score at the 8:40 mark when Nathan jumped on a loose puck, broke in on Blake Darrah and top-shelved a shot over the glove of the Red Storm's junior goalie.
Williams then gave Northwood the lead for good, taking a feed off the boards from Saranac Lake native Jason Farmer and breaking in all alone on Darrah. With the clock winding down, Williams was able to slip the puck through the pads of Darrah to give the Huskies a 2-1 advantage with no time remaining in the second period.
The Red Storm's offensive woes continued in the third period, as they were only able to put four shots on net in an effort to come up with the tying goal. Saranac Lake pulled Darrah from goal with 1:04 left on the clock looking to even the score, but Dustin LaValley, a junior from Potsdam, ended the Red Storm's hopes of pulling even when he scored into an open net with nine seconds remaining in the game.
"I think we played a pretty lackluster game," Saranac Lake head coach Will Ellsworth said. "We played a pretty good first period, but we started to wear down. They were skating four lines to our two. We have some injuries and we are not deep.
"It's still early in the season, and we're just trying to fit our guys in the right places," Ellsworth added. "In my 12 years of coaching, this is the least depth we've had. Hopefully, we can get it going."
Corey Leonard, a senior from King, N.C., stopped 10 shots to earn the win in net for the Huskies. Darrah made 24 saves in a losing effort for Saranac Lake.
"Our defense did a nice job keeping Saranac Lake to the outside, and our goalie came up with the saves when we needed them," Nemec said. "This was a good win for us in a close game."
The Red Storm next play Monday on the road at Norwood-Norfolk and return home Wednesday to host Northeastern Clinton in a CVAC contest.