UTICA — The top-ranked Beekmantown boys registered come-from-behind wins in three of its first four postseason games.
The Eagles, though, ran out of magic at the wrong time Sunday.
Behind two first-period goals from captains Joseph Schuler and Jeremy Caulkins, No. 2-ranked Webster Schroeder of Section V held off Beekmantown’s late-game surge to capture the NYSPHSAA Division II ice hockey championship at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
“Our kids battled,” Eagles (19-5-1) coach Justin Frechette said. “In championship hockey, we knew we would get our chances, and we did. I thought we wore them down at the end of the game, but their goalie was just making save after save after save.
“We really believed it was going to start to fall or bounce our way. In games like this, you need a few bounces to go your way, too. Unfortunately (Sunday), we didn’t have that.”
Schuler put the Warriors (18-7-2) on the board at 7:59 of the first period with a short-handed goal, slipping around a Beekmantown defenseman and beating goaltender Dustin Plumadore on the short side.
“(The) kid just had a great shot from the outside,” Frechette said. “Put it right inside the far post. Great shot, great play by him.”
It remained a 1-0 game until Caulkins netted a power-play goal at 12:56. A senior forward, Caulkins went uncovered on the doorstep, allowing him to fire a shot blocker side.
“He just went in 1-on-0,” Frechette said. “They had a play where one of our defenseman got picked. You know, he came in free on Dustin. He just had a great shot.”
Like Saturday, the Eagles were outshot in the first period by a 15-4 margin.
“We had four or five breakaway opportunities with some of our better players…three 2-on-1s,” Frechette said. “We just weren’t able to put the puck in the net (Sunday). Just didn’t bounce our way. We had chances.
“I thought the first period, we had a slow start. But I thought the end of the first, second and third period, we controlled the play completely. We just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. That’s really the story of the game.”
Beekmantown outshot Webster Schroeder, 15-9, inside the final 30 minutes of regulation. Despite facing multiple odd-man rushes, Warriors goaltender Ryan Beutel stood tall on each occasion.
Beutel, a junior, was credited with 19 saves to collect the shutout. After surrendering six goals in three NYSPHSAA games, he was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“Their goaltender stood on his head,” Frechette said. “It’s one of those positions in hockey where one player can single-handedly shutdown a game, and it’s a goaltender. Their goaltender did that (Sunday). You have to give credit where credit’s due. Their goaltender was tournament MVP and deservingly so.”
The Eagles were held scoreless on three power-play chances, including a 6-on-4 opportunity with an extra attacker on the ice for the final 36.2 seconds of play.
“I just think (Webster Schroeder) battled in front,” Frechette said. “They did a good job of rallying around the goaltender. He, in my mind, single-handedly won the game for them. They beat us and their goaltender was the main reason for that.”
With 2:54 remaining in the game, a goaltender change occurred after Plumadore left the ice with an ankle injury. Ben Frederick, a junior, entered the game in relief, totaling three saves.
After collecting their first Section V title, the Warriors secured their first-ever state championship. In six postseason games, they were behind on the scoreboard for all of 62 seconds, which occurred in the sectional quarterfinals.
Beekmantown’s Nate Foster was named the NYSPHSAA Division II Player of the Year, while also being selected to the All-State Team and All-Tournament Team. Josh Barriere was honored with a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Frechette was selected as the Coach of the Year.
The loss dropped the Eagles to 19-5-1. Beekmantown was able to reach the final four in Utica for the second consecutive season.
“The senior class that we have changed the culture of Beekmantown hockey,” Frechette said. “They’ve set the bar very high. It’s their hard work and dedication and commitment to each other that’s allowed us to come back here. We’re going to use this as a learning experience.
“I just want to thank our fans. We had a lot of people travel down (Sunday). The support was felt by all of our players. It stings now, but these are memories that these young men will have forever.”
Webster Schroeder 2, Beekmantown 0
Webster Schroeder 2 0 0 — 2
Beekmantown 0 0 0 — 0
First period- 1, WS, Schuler, 7:59. 2, WS, Caulkins (Montgomery), 12:56.
Shots: Webster Schroeder 24. Beekmantown 19.
Saves: Beutel, WS, 19. Plumadore (19), Frederick (3), BCS, (22).
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