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Bombers' magic fizzles in semifinal shootout

October 23, 2018
By LOU REUTER - Senior Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

PICKETTS CORNERS - A magical run is over.

On Monday, a bid for a seventh-straight boys sectional soccer title for Lake Placid came to an end as Seton Catholic defeated the Blue Bombers on penalty kicks in the semifinal round of the Section VII, Class C playoffs under the lights at Saranac Central.

In past seasons, the Blue Bombers have had plenty of firepower and veteran experience to keep their championship string going, but that was not the case this year after they fielded an extremely young squad. Still, under the guidance of head coach Stuart Hemsley, Lake Placid again rose to the occasion come playoff time but could not get past the top-seeded Knights, who are led by the Northern Soccer League Division II most valuable player Nate Boule.

Article Photos

Lake Placid senior goalkeeper Jacob Novick secures the ball on an attempt by a hard-charging Logan Frenya of Seton Catholic during the first half of Monday’s match. Also pictured for Lake Placid are defenders Tyler Hinckley, right, and Cobane Bissonette.
(News photo — Lou Reuter)

In the end, a Blue Bombers shot that bounced off the goalpost and out of danger during the opening round of penalty kicks proved to be the difference in a match that finished even at 1-1 after 80 minutes of regulation and another 30 minutes of sudden death overtime.

Even the penalty kicks went into extra time. After each squad converted on four of five attempts in the first series of penalty kicks, the Knights won in on their sixth shot when John Glover buried his shot past Lake Placid goalkeeper Jacob Novick. The Blue Bombers had one final chance to stay alive, but their sixth shot, fired by junior exchange student Pao sailed inches above the crossbar.

"If we said we were going to lose on PKs in the end, I would have been pretty happy with that," Hemsley said. "It's a crap shoot when it comes to PKs and we were confident. I wasn't scared of penalties, I was scared of the 15-minute overtimes. We played the top team in Class C. They pressured us a lot."

A year ago, Novick was a hero in goal for Lake Placid when the Blue Bombers took down Seton Catholic on penalty kicks in the Class C semifinals on the same field. Playing in what turned out to be the final match of his high school career, Novick sparkled in nets again and was a big reason the opening half turned out to be scoreless.

The Knights then jumped on top 1-0 with 21:46 gone in the second half when Tobiah Osborne took a feed from Boule on the left side of the penalty box and banged a shot off the far post and into the back of the net. Matt White, just one of two seniors who started for Lake Placid Monday, netted the equalizer on a penalty kick with 10:14 remaining in regulation. The Blue Bombers were awarded the shot when a Knights defender dragged down Lake Placid sophomore Matt Brandes as he was bearing down on keeper Tyler Reid.

After tying the match, Lake Placid was able to turn up the pressure and nearly got a late goal with just over three minutes left in regulation when Brandes broke into the box for an open shot that sailed just above the crossbar.

Seton Catholic finished with an overwhelming 23-5 advantage in shots. Novick made 14 saves with an incredible effort.

"Their goalie was phenomenal. If it wasn't for him, it could have easily been a four-, five-goal game," Seton Catholic coach Charlie Gay said. "Novick is probably one of the best keepers in the league. He made several spectacular saves.

"We played really well. We played the game we came to play, we just couldn't finish," Gay added. "We controlled probably 80 percent of the game, but every year at this time of the season, Stu (Hemsley) puts together some miracles and they're tough to beat."

After coming up short this time around, Hemsley, as well as Novick, said the future looks bright for the Blue Bombers, who marched all the way to the Class C state final four a season ago.

"I know I have a lot of kids coming back, and there wasn't anybody who had a bad game tonight," Hemsley said. "It was a great performance. This was the first time this school has lost a sectional game under my control and we lose it by knockout penalty. Not a great season results-wise, but to take the No. 1 seed to double overtime and then PKs, I'm proud of that. I've got good players and we have to make them better to come back next year and be a fighting force again."

"Going forward, we only had two, three seniors who played this year. The rest of our team all juniors, sophomores," Novick said. "I think they have a really good chance of making this program amazing again. I think we could bring back the streak. I'm looking forward to seeing that in the future.

"I couldn't have asked for a better and more supportive program," Novick continued. "Everyone - the fans, my coach, my teammates - were with me every step of the way, and honestly, it was a heck of a ride. I really loved it."



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