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Freshmen come through on senior night

January 26, 2018
By LOU REUTER - Senior Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - The Saranac Lake Placid hockey team capped off a solid two days, as well as an impressive regular season with a 2-0 victory over visiting Plattsburgh Thursday at the Olympic Center's 1932 rink.

On senior night at the rink, freshmen Lydia Bullock and Whitney Battistoni came up big for SLP. Bullock scored both goals and Battistoni posted her second shutout in nets in as many nights as SLP finished with a 4-2 league mark and a 10-6-1 overall record heading into the postseason. On Wednesday, SLP blanked Franklin Academy 3-0 on the same ice sheet and then played a strong game from the goal out to avenge a 2-1 road loss to the Hornets on Jan 3.

Special teams play was big for SLP against Plattsburgh, as Bullock netted a power-play goal in the second period and followed with a short-handed tally in the third. The opening period was played evenly and went scoreless, and SLP then turned up the heat and outshot Plattsburgh 26-13 the rest of the way while pumping in a pair of goals. SLP's biggest concern was landing in the penalty box, but the hosts emerged from those situations unscathed, especially at the start of the third after they were able to kill off a Plattsburgh two-man advantage.

Article Photos

Freshman Lydia Bullock controls the puck in the Hornets zone during the second period of Thursday’s game. Bullock netted both goals in SLP’s 2-0 victory.
(News photo — Lou Reuter)

"When we played them down there last time, we didn't have the shots like we did today," SLP coach Bill Peer said. "Plattsburgh did a nice job of packing in tight down low, and their goalie is solid and we knew that. We took away for the most part, their chances, although we had to kill a lot of penalties. Whitney saw the puck well. We asked to make the first stop and she did that. We played well."

Saranac Lake Placid held an 8-7 edge in shots on goal in the opening period, and then stormed out in the second and managed to put 15 shots on the Hornets net tended by Corrinne Smith. Bullock finally put a puck past Plattsburgh's steady senior goalie, sliding a rebound into the net off an assist from Lea Hill at the 12:40 mark of the period 24 seconds after a Plattsburgh player was sent to the penalty box.

SLP caught a break just seconds into the final period while the Hornets were buzzing the net with a two-man advantage and looking to even the score. During the flurry, Plattsburgh's Taylor Heywood was able to get off a clean shot with a pile of players in front of Battistoni but wristed her attempt just over the crossbar.

Hill then came up with a big play late in the game with a teammate in the penalty box that led to SLP's second goal and sealed the win. After gaining control of a clearing pass by Faith Fell, Hill skated the puck down the left wing and drove toward the net. The junior was able to get off two shots that were both stopped by Smith, but on the second chance, a rebound went directly to Bullock, who sent a shot home from the doorstep on the right side of the net for her 12th goal of the season.

SLP finished with a 34-20 advantage in shots on goal, which gave the hosts a shot total of 63 in their back-to-back games.

"We went into the locker room knowing we had to come out hot in the second period," said Fell, who was one of 10 SLP seniors honored prior to the game. "Shot count was amazing in the second period. We had a lot of zone time. It was an exciting senior night.

"We really wanted to win this," Fell continued. "We really wanted a home playoff spot, and I really think the girls picked it up for everyone. We just worked super well together in this game. We started out slow, and then we picked it up at the end of the first going into the second and third."

SLP and Beekmantown both finished at the top of the league standings with a 4-2 mark. Plattsburgh finishes league play on Saturday against Franklin Academy in a game that will determine the third and fourth seeds for the semifinal round of the playoffs in games that will be played Wednesday. Depending on the tiebreaker, SLP will host either one of those teams.

Despite the loss, Plattsburgh head coach Jamie Reidy was upbeat with the effort from his young squad.

"I think Saranac Lake played well at all ends of the rink. I think we had a shot late, but it's just one of those things," Reidy said. "We're very young. About 80 percent of this team is grade 7, 8 and 9. It's not taking anything away from Saranac Lake, we're just having trouble pushing to the net right now. We don't have a defenseman that's older than a freshman, but we have a shot. We're optimistic about the playoffs. We have a very solid goaltender who can win some games for us. She's been our stud all year long. We can depend on her, we just have to find away to get the puck in the net. We just have to get going and find some offense. That's our goal."

This season marked the first year that Saranac Lake and Lake Placid have combined forces. In recent seasons, Saranac Lake's girls squad was comprised of just players from that school, with a handful of Tupper Lake skaters joining the Blue Bombers ranks. This winter, SLP benefited from the depth that players from all three schools have provided.

"Honestly, a lot of people came into the season a little iffy, but we have created such a bond among the girls on this team," said Fell, who attends Lake Placid High School. "We have three schools, and we're really, really close. I couldn't have asked for a better last season. These girls are amazing. Last year, we had maybe nine players and a goalie. We were winded every shift. Having a deep bench this year has really helped us rotate lines. Everything worked in this game. It was good."

Saranac Lake senior Madison Grimone, a blue liner and team captain, echoed Fell's feelings about their combined group.

"It's been different. We're winning a lot," Grimone said. "I think it turned out a lot better than everybody was expecting. Everybody loves it."


Saranac Lake Placid 2, Plattsburgh 0



Second Period

1. SLP, Bullock (L. Hill), 12:40, pp.

Third Period

2. SLP, Bullock (L. Hill, Fell), 11:46, shg

Shots on goal: SLP 34, PHS 20

Saves: PHS, Smith 32; SLP, Battistoni 20



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