LAKE PLACID - There's nothing like picking up an important win to shake off some recent frustration.
That's exactly what the Lake Placid boys hockey team accomplished at home Tuesday, Jan. 17, earning a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Northeastern Clinton in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference play.
After starting the season with seven straight wins, the Blue Bombers had dropped three of their past four games heading into the matchup at the Olympic Center, with two of those losses coming in CVAC play. But against the Cougars, Lake Placid netted a goal in each period and played solid enough defense to prevail.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Lake Placid junior forward Eddie Kane, pictured in action on home ice against Northeastern Clinton, scored three goals and added two assists to help the Blue Bombers pick up a pair of Champlain Valley Athletic Conference wins last week.
After topping NCCS, the Blue Bombers went on to post a second-straight CVAC win on Saturday, Jan. 21, when they skated to 3-1 victory on the road over Plattsburgh in another close contest. Junior Eddie Kane scored all three goals for Lake Placid in that game, including two in the final period as his team broke open a 1-1 deadlock.
With the two victories, Lake Placid improved to 3-2 in the CVAC and 10-3 overall.
Against the Cougars, sophomore Dillon Savage broke a 2-2 deadlock with the game-winning goal when he top-shelved a rebound past NCCS netminder Kyle McCarthy 62 seconds into the third period.
"It was a good battle out there tonight," said Lake Placid head coach Keith Clark. "Both teams played good fundamental hockey, and that's why you didn't see a lot of shots on goal. Our kids were pretty excited to pick up a big league win."
Ryan Damp and Dustin Jacques each added a goal for the Blue Bombers, Eddie Kane recorded two assists and Haile Thompson chipped in one assist for the winners. Kastle Birch led the Cougars with a goal and an assist, Liam McDonough scored once and Ben LeDuc notched an assist.
The Blue Bombers grabbed one-goal leads on two occasions before Savage netted the only goal of the third period. The Cougars were able to tie the game twice on the strength of a pair of second-period goals.
Damp scored the game's first goal and his fifth of the season when he slid a puck through the pads of McCarthy 5:44 into the contest for a 1-0 Lake Placid lead, with Savage and Thompson assisting on the play.
The Cougars notched the first of three second-period markers when McDonough capped off a three-on-two rush, beating Lake Placid goalie Jeff Smith on a shot from the right circle 3:13 into the stanza to forge a 1-1 tie. Dustin Jacques put Lake Placid back in front 2-1, flipping a backhander high into the net at the 12:50 mark. The goal was the 11th of the season for Jacques, a senior who is second in the scoring standings in the CVAC.
NCCS again pulled even at 2-2 when Birch poked a puck through Smith's pads with just 12 seconds left in the period.
Kane got things going on the game-winning play when he carried the puck along the left boards into the Cougars zone and sent a weak shot toward the short side of the net. McCarthy, however, was unable to scoop the rolling puck up with his glove and Savage was on the doorstep to send home the rebound for his sixth goal of the season.
"Not only did Dillon get a goal and an assist tonight, he played a good all-around game for us," Clark said. "He went hard to the net for that goal, and got rewarded for that hard work."
Clark also credited junior Keegan Barney for a strong game on offense and defense.
Trailing by a goal late, the Cougars were able to pull McCarthy from the net with more than a minute left on the third period clock. Looking to tie, they put two shots on net but Smith came up with big stops both times as the Blue Bombers defense held.
"This was tough loss. It was a league loss, and these games are important for seedings," said NCCS coach Rob Francis. "Both teams went at it hard. We made a couple of mistakes and Lake Placid capitalized. That was the difference. That's hockey. We put good pressure on them late, we just couldn't put one more puck in the net."
Lake Placid held a 21-15 edge in shots on goal. Smith made 13 stops to earn the win in goal for the Blue Bombers and McCarthy stopped 18 shots in nets for the Cougars.
With the loss to Lake Placid, NCCS dropped to 2-3 in the CVAC and 5-7 overall.
Lake Placid next plays at home Saturday, Jan. 28 in a non-league game against Fulton with the opening faceoff scheduled for 1 p.m.
Lake Placid 3, Northeastern Clinton 2
1. LP, Damp (Savage, H. Thompson), 5:44.
2. NCCS, McDonough (Birch, LeDuc), 3:12; 3. LP, D. Jacques (E. Kane), 12:50; 4. NCCS, Birch, 14:48.
5. LP, Savage (E. Kane), 1:02.
Shots on goal: Lake Placid 21, NCCS 15.
Saves: NCCS, McCarthy 18, LP, Smith 13.