CHAZY — It’s like déjà vu all over again for the Beekmantown girls’ hockey team.
For the sixth time, the Eagles (16-6) advanced to the state semifinals by upending Lake Placid in the Upstate Girls’ Hockey League regional championship Friday, 5-2.
“I have somewhat of a seasoned team, but we’re not real deep as we were in the past,” Beekmantown coach Ray Guay said. “I’ve just built the program up to where it’s taking care of itself. The youth that’s coming up through the Chazy and Plattsburgh (Youth Hockey) programs have been tremendous.”
The Eagles wasted no time getting on the board.
Lauren O’Connor slipped a shot past Blue Bombers (9-9) goaltender Tanner Stanton with 1:09 gone in the first period to open the scoring. Brielle Carnright was credited with the lone assist on the play.
From there, Katie Matott took a feed from Callie LaPorte and extended Beekmantown’s lead to two goals with 3:04 showing on the clock at Scotts’ Memorial Rink. The Eagles managed a 14-4 advantage in shots on goal at the end of the opening frame.
“We wanted to jump out early,” Guay said. “Whoever gets that first goal is kind of a backbreaker, and then to add another one on top of it really puts you in a good position to carry on … go with the momentum.”
After LaPorte gave Beekmantown a three-goal cushion at 7:57 of the second period, Briana Savage cut Lake Placid’s deficit to two goals at 3:50 of the third stanza.
Matott, however, registered a tally just 29 seconds later to help the Eagles regain their three-goal lead.
“I really felt like it might’ve (taken the wind out of our sails),” Lake Placid coach Sandy Huber said. “I was a little bit worried, but these girls wanted it so bad. It was really good to see they didn’t give up. They have a lot of character, and I’m proud of their determination.”
Kallie Villemaire’s empty-net goal with three seconds remaining helped solidify the victory.
Taylor Laurin, just a freshman, stopped 19-of-21 shots between the pipes for Beekmantown. Stanton recorded 33 saves in the three-goal loss.
“It’s always about defense first,” Guay said. “Defense will win you games. With Taylor, she’s been working hard, and she had a great game. The players will play in front of her, providing you have good goaltending.”
The Blue Bombers finished their season at 9-9 and picked up their first playoff win since the inception of the program in 2002 Wednesday.
Lake Placid defeated the Eagles Dec. 9, 3-2.
“We’re really proud of that,” Huber said. “It was the first time we’ve been able to beat Beekmantown since they started their program a few years ago. That win was huge for us early in the season.
“We knew coming in that we had proven that we could do it and we had a chance. They’re a good, strong team and intimidating to play, but I think we went in with the confidence that we needed to stay in the game.”
With the victory, Beekmantown will advance to the state semifinals at the Clayton Recreation Park Arena in Jefferson County where it looks to defend its state title.
The Eagles’ opponent has yet to be determined, but representatives from St. Lawrence County, Central New York and Buffalo will be competing.
The semifinals will occur Friday, while the state championship is scheduled for Saturday.
“We just have to keep playing our game,” Guay said. “We pass and move the puck very well. We just have to lean on some of our veteran players.
“Hopefully, it doesn’t matter who we meet. Last year, we met the Kenmore team out of Buffalo. We might as well face one of the tougher teams first. You just have to bring you’re A-game every game.”
Beekmantown 5, Lake Placid 2
Lake Placid 0 0 2 — 2
Beekmantown 2 1 2 — 5
First period- 1, BCS, O’Connor (Carnright), 1:09. 2, BCS, Matott (LaPorte), 11:56.
Second period- 3, BCS, LaPorte, 7:57.
Third period- 4, LP, Savage (Bimonte, Dukette), 3:50. 5, BCS, Matott, 4:19. 6, LP, Whitney (Fell, Barney), 10:49 (PP). 7, BCS, Villemaire (Giroux), 14:57 (ENG).
Shots: Beekmantown 38. Lake Placid 21.
Saves: Stanton, LP, 33. Laurin, BCS, 19.
Email Ricky St. Clair at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Ricky_PRSports.