SARANAC LAKE - The first time that the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid girls hockey teams met up this season, the Blue Bombers were barely challenged and rolled to a 5-0 shutout win over the Red Storm at the Olympic Center.
Tuesday's rematch at the Saranac Lake Civic Center turned out to be a whole lot tighter, but the outcome was the same as Carissa Kennedy scored the winning goal with 14 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Lake Placid to a 2-1 victory.
Instead of surging out to an early 2-0 lead like they did when the teams clashed on Dec. 20, the Blue Bombers played from behind this time around after Kate Stevens scored midway through the second period to give the Red Storm a 1-0 edge.
Saranac Lake’s Jordy McDougall defends against Lake Placid’s Kendra Manning during the third period of Tuesday’s game.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Facing a deficit for the second time in as many games, Lake Placid mounted another comeback, with senior Kendra Manning netting the equalizer early in the third period and Kennedy capping off the rally with the overtime tally. It was the third goal of the season for the sophomore defenseman.
"Saranac Lake is a much better team than they were earlier in the season," Lake Placid coach Sandy Huber said. "They were missing some of their better players last time, and it showed tonight. I don't think they were very happy with how things went last time."
After a scoreless first period, Saranac Lake got on the board when Stevens converted a turnover in the Blue Bombers end of the rink. The speedy freshman took control of a loose puck along the boards, skated toward the net and beat Lake Placid goaltender Tanner Stanton from in close to stake the Red Storm to a 1-0 lead at the 7:23 mark of the second.
From there, Saranac Lake was able to hold Lake Placid off the scoreboard, with much of the credit going to Red Storm goalie Katey Snyder, who turned in another outstanding effort in nets. Lake Placid finally broke through when Manning sent a wrist shot from the slot past Snyder to deadlock the game at 1-1 with 3:49 gone in the third period.
Snyder continued to hold the Blue Bombers at bay during the remainder of regulation and for much of the overtime period. The Blue Bombers' pressure finally paid off late in the extra five-minute period. The winning play started with a faceoff in Saranac Lake's end of the rink with 23 ticks left on the clock. Brooke Reid won the draw for the Blue Bombers and got the puck to Payton Barney at the blue line. Barney then slid a pass to the other point to Kennedy, who fiired a slapshot past Snyder to win it for the Blue Bombers.
"Carissa has put a lot of work into improving her shot," Huber said. "She just let it rip. It was a good, hard slapshot."
Instead of exiting the ice with what could have been a second straight overtime win, Saranac Lake's players left disappointed but also much happier with their effort the second time around against their rivals.
"We got a big overtime win in Oswego over the weekend, we had Lake Placid on the ropes tonight, and we're heading in the right direction," Saranac Lake head coach Erin Biek said. "Our effort was so much better than last time. We're disappointed, but we are happy with the improvement."
Snyder, a sophomore, made 34 saves for Saranac Lake. Stanton earned the win in goal for the Blue Bombers with eight saves. Reid finished with two assists for Lake Placid and Sam Barney also had an assist.
Saranac Lake fell to 2-7-2 with the loss. The Red Storm play at home again Thursday against Canton, a team they defeated 6-5 in overtime for their first win of the season.
After surging out to leads in a number of games and then holding on for wins earlier in the season, the Blue Bombers have rallied for a tie and a victory in their last two starts. Lake Placid now owns a 7-2-1 record.
"As a coach, these games that go down to the wire are nerve-wracking," Huber said. "We grabbed some bigger leads earlier in the season and barely held on for wins. The last two times out, we had to come from behind. That's not necessarily what we want to do, but it's a little more comforting to be finishing strong."
Lake Placid next plays Saturday at Alexandria Bay.
Lake Placid 2, Saranac Lake 1, OT
1. SL, Stevens, 7:23
2. LP, Manning (Reid, S. Barney), 3:49
3. LP, Kennedy (P. Barney, Reid), 4:46
Shots on goal: Lake Placid 36, Saranac Lake 9
Saves: LP, Stanton 8; SL, Ka. Snyder 34