PLATTSBURGH - The Lake Placid hockey team's season came to a tough end Friday, as Plattsburgh claimed a 3-2 victory in the second overtime in a Section VII semifinal game on the Hornets' home ice at the Ameri-Can North Sports Center.
It marked the third time the teams have met this season, with each squad winning once on the road in games decided by a single goal. Friday's rubber-match was expected to be a thriller, and that prediction held true as the contest couldn't have been much closer.
Jack Tolosky was the hero for the Hornets, scoring two goals including the game-winner with 2:19 remaining in the second overtime. Eric Bechard also netted a huge goal for Plattsburgh, scoring with 22 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into sudden-death.
Lake Placid’s Connor Preston Preston is joined on the attack by a host of teammates while advancing the puck from the Blue Bombers zone in Friday’s Section VII semifinal game against Plattsburgh in the Ameri-Can North Sports Center.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Ryan Meyer takes control of the puck for Lake Placid while Tucker Angelopolous covers the net during Friday’s game.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
It appeared the Blue Bombers would be on their way to Wednesday's championship game when Nzoni Thompson scored with just 1:22 remaining in the third period to give Lake Placid a late 2-1 edge, but it turned out to be an advantage that didn't hold up.
Plattsburgh and Lake Placid traded goals in the first period during a game that saw both teams put 29 shots on net. The Hornets took a 1-0 lead on Tolosky's first of the game, which came at the 10:05 mark on a shot from a sharp angle that appeared to surprise Lake Placid goalie Tucker Angelopolous. The Blue Bombers pulled even when Shane McNierney buried a puck with 1:58 left in the period to send the teams into overtime deadlocked at 1-1.
After the second period and most of the third stanza went scoreless, Thompson gave third-seeded Lake Placid a 2-1 lead when he picked up a puck along the boards near the Hornets blue line, skated to the net and poked a puck past Plattsburgh goalie Robbie Knowles with 1:28 remaining the regulation.
The Hornets were able to pull Knowles from goal with 1:21 left on the clock for an extra attacker, and got the equalizer when Andrew Bechard top-shelved a wrist shot with 22 seconds left.
Just seconds before Bechard evened things up, the Blue Bombers were inches away from clinching the win with a potential empty-net goal when McNierney sent a puck from his team's zone down the ice. Instead of going in the net, the puck skimmed off the goal post and Lake Placid was called for icing. The Hornets then gained control of the puck on the faceoff in the Blue Bombers zone and tied the game.
Lake Placid outshot the Hornets 5-0 during the first extra session, which went a full 7:30 before heading into a second sudden-death period. The Hornets got the game-winner when John Fine-Lease sent a pass from behind the Lake Placid net to Tolosky, who slid the puck past Angelopolous from in close.
Both head coaches - Lake Placid's Keith Clark and Plattsburgh's Jamie Reidy - said either team could have come up with the win.
"We beat a very sound hockey team that is well coached," Reidy said. "We split during the regular season and we knew how close this game could wind up. It was a close as it could be. We both had 29 shots.
"When they got that huge goal from Thompson, who could be the best skater on their team, we weren't out of it," Reidy added. "In that situation, you don't look at it as being down a goal. Instead, you look at it as being a shot away. We got that shot and made the most of it."
"Our kids played really well," Clark said. "It was two good hockey teams going up and down the ice. It was a great high school hockey game. Both teams played hard and competed hard.
"We were off a little in the second period, but we had a good first period, I think we had the edge in play in the third period and even in overtime," Clark added. "Plattsburgh was fortunate enough to come up with that goal, and it was a nice goal."
The game was the final time seniors Eddie Kane, Keegan Barney, Ryan Meyer and RJ. Reid played in a Lake Placid uniform, and Clark credited all four with providing the leadership that enabled the Blue Bombers to put together a 15-5-2 record this season."
"I personally want to thank our four seniors," Clark said. "I think they took this program and moved in a direction where we were once at. They all had a great year. Yeah, we will miss those guys."
The second-seeded Hornets will now face top-seeded Beekmantown for the Section VII title Wednesday at the SUNY Plattsburgh Field House. The winner of that game will advance directly to the state Division II final four in Utica.
Plattsburgh 3, Lake Placid 2, 2OT
1. PHS, Tolosky, 10:05; 2. LP, McNeirney, 13:02.
3. LP, Thompson (Strack), 13:32; 4. PHS, A. Bechard (E. Bechard, Maston), 14:38.
5. PHS, Tolosky (E. Bechard, Fine-Lease), 5:11.
Shots on goal: PHS 29, LP 29.
Saves: PHS, Knowles 27; LP, Angelopolous 26.