SARANAC LAKE - The mood was celebratory at the Saranac Lake Civic Center before the opening faceoff of Saturday's Wounded Warrior Project benefit hockey game between the Red Storm and Lake Placid.
But after three periods of hockey, Saranac Lake's players were in no mood to celebrate.
In front of a packed house that always accompanies the rivalry matchup, Lake Placid overwhelmed Saranac Lake while cruising to an 8-0 victory. The Blue Bombers scored 31 seconds into the game and never let up. They led 4-0 after the first period, and then tacked on two more goals in each of the second and third stanzas to improve to 2-0 in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference and 7-1 overall. Meanwhile, Saranac Lake dropped to 1-2 in league play and 1-5-1 overall.
Lake Placid’s Ryan Damp carries the puck into the Saranac Lake zone while Drew Sturgeon pursues the play for the Red Storm during the first period of Saturday’s game at the Saranac Lake Civic Center.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
The Blue Bombers dominated from start to finish, especially in an opening period that saw them outshoot the Red Storm 25-3. Lake Placid finished the game with a 53-18 advantage in shots on goal. Keifer Casler and Troy Jacques scored two goals each to lead Lake Placid, and senior co-captain Dillon Savage and Nzoni Thompson each chipped in a goal and two assists.
The archrivals are joining forces to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project during their two meetings this season, and stepped onto the ice wearing camouflage jerseys that also include their team colors.
"We knew this game would be great for all the veterans who came out tonight," Savage said. "We knew we were here to support an important cause, and everything just went our way. But we worked hard for this win. Every player on our team had a great night."
"Putting hockey aside, we were happy to be here supporting the Wounded Warrior Project, but at the end of the day, our guys are really disappointed," Saranac Lake head coach Will Ellsworth said. "Our guys know they didn't come up with the effort they needed. They know they didn't play the way the are capable of playing."
Saranac Lake did register the game's first shot on goal, a backhander about 15 seconds into the contest that was easily turned aside by Lake Placid netminder Tucker Angelopolous. The Blue Bombers took control from there. After clearing their zone in a hurry, they went up 1-0 when Chris Williams stuffed a puck past Red Storm goalie Blake Darrah from in close with Thompson assisting.
Casler then lifted Lake Placid to a 2-0 lead with a goal at the 1:37 mark, and Thompson and Troy Jacques followed with goals later in the period to send the Blue Bombers into the first intermission with a 4-0 edge.
The Red Storm started to show some life at the start of the second period, and generated two solid scoring chances with point-blank shots on net, but Angelopolous was up to the task. Lake Placid then pulled away with two power-play tallies later in the stanza. The first came on on a goal by Savage at the 10:28 mark and the next was on Troy Jacques' second score of the game that put the Blue Bombers on top 6-0 with 2:10 remaining in the period.
Evan Damp and Casler then notched goals less than two minutes apart during the middle of the final period to round out the scoring.
"We had a really nice jump in the first period," Lake Placid head coach Keith Clark said. "We were leaning forward. I think Saranac Lake did a nice job picking it up in the second period. Tucker made a couple of really good saves for us, and then we revved it up again. Our power-play group really came through for us."
Angelopolous stopped all 18 shots that came his way, including 10 in the second period. Darrah, a senior, made 42 saves in goal for the Red Storm before being replaced by Tanner Courcelle midway through the third period. Courcelle recorded three stops in his first appearance of the season.
"Lake Placid had a great game plan," Ellsworth said. "They put the pressure on us from the get go and played physical. Our defensive play was unacceptable. Seven of the eight goals Lake Placid scored came from inside the paint right in front of our net. Our defense and defensive zone coverage was not good. It was a tough night."
Lake Placid next plays at home Tuesday in a CVAC matchup against Plattsburgh. The opening faceoff of that contest at the Olympic Center's 1932 Rink is slated for 6 p.m. Saranac Lake will be at home again Monday in a non-league matchup against Norwood-Norfolk starting at 6:30 p.m.
Lake Placid 8, Saranac Lake 0
1. LP, Williams (Thompson), :31; 2. LP, Casler (P. Kane), 1:37; 3. LP, Thompson (T. Jacques), 8:37; 4. LP, T. Jacques (Savage), 13:37.
5. LP, Savage (Thompson, Smith), 10:28, ppg; 6. LP, T. Jacques (Smith, Savage), 12:50; ppg.
7. LP, E. Damp, 6:48; 8. LP, Casler, 8:09.
Shots on goal - Lake Placid 53, Saranac Lake 18.