BREWSTER — Goal-scoring is contagious, and it’s exactly the type of bug the No. 4 Beekmantown boys’ hockey team was looking to catch entering the state playoffs.
After managing leads of 3-0 and 4-1, the Eagles (18-4-1) scored four unanswered tallies in the third period to upend No. 1 Pelham, 8-3, in the NYSPHSAA Division II quarterfinals at the Brewster Ice Arena Saturday.
With the win, the Eagles advance to the state semifinals at the Utica Memorial Auditorium for the second consecutive season. They will face Auburn of Section III, a 3-1 victor over Williamsville East (Section VI), at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.
Beekmantown’s offense was driven by Nate Foster’s hat-trick performance, which included three assists. Brandon Buksa scored twice, while Josh Barriere, Kyle Constanty and Michael Parent also added goals.
“It was a great effort from the top to the bottom of our lineup,” Eagles coach Justin Frechette said. “I’m so extremely happy for all these kids, especially our senior class. The leadership that we got (Saturday) was exceptional.
“When you can go on the road, take on the No. 1 team in the state and come out with an 8-3 win, you’ve got to be real proud of that. We have some more work to do, but we want to enjoy this (Saturday).”
Beekmantown got out to the start it was hoping for.
After Barriere opened scoring with a shot from the point just 18 seconds in, Buksa extended the Eagles’ lead to 2-0 just three minutes later by banging home a rebound chance in front. The first of Foster’s three goals, with 22 seconds showing on the clock, gave Beekmantown a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period.
But the Pelicans (19-4-1) made a push in the second stanza, scoring on three occasions. Pelham was advantageous during a 5-on-3 power play, outshooting the Eagles by a 15-5 margin in the process.
“We didn’t change our game plan at all,” Frechette said. “I think a lot of times, the biggest mistake you can make is going into a shell in those situations. We continued to pressure their defenseman and tried to keep the game down in their end. We did that. I think that was the difference in the game.
“We knew they were going to make a push. They have great players over there. You don’t have three players with over 50 points and not expect a push. But we responded.”
Constanty and Foster gave Beekmantown a 6-3 lead with 4:16 elapsed in the third period. After Parent sent in a loose puck in front, Foster recorded his hat-trick goal with 4:49 remaining.
“I think our team speed matched up against them pretty well,” Foster said. “We utilized that. We moved the puck around and our transition play was great. We moved our feet and made some nice passes in the neutral zone.”
Barriere, a junior defenseman who recorded one goal and three assists, was pleased with his team’s ability to put the puck on net. The Eagles scored eight goals on 25 shots.
“It’s all about getting pucks to the net and everybody just crashing,” Barriere said. “You know, that’s the best way to score. You can only score if you shoot it on net, and that’s what happened on my goal. Buksa had a good screen in front, the goalie didn’t see it and the puck just happened to slide through.”
Beekmantown’s physical style of play proved to frustrate the Pelicans in the later stages of the game. As many as five Pelham players were in the penalty box in the third period.
Senior defenseman Will Cullen was ejected after penalties for contact to the head and unsportsmanlike conduct.
“I said before the game, ‘Those 1-on-1 battles are going to be key in regards to systematically and physically eliminating their better players,’” Frechette said. “I thought our backcheck (Saturday) was a big difference in the game. We were able to backcheck their players, and then our defenseman were able to step up and pressure them at the blue line.
“I can’t forget about the defensive effort. Dustin Plumadore, our goaltender, made four or five really nice saves throughout the game. We have great confidence in him.”
Plumadore fended off 30-of-33 shots faced between the pipes to earn the victory.
“The key to this game was just how we played defensively,” Plumadore said. “The team defense is great. When you can see all the shots and they’re right in front of you, you don’t have to move too much. We came into this game talking a lot about picking up sticks and our defenseman picked them up, and it just worked out well for us.”
The Eagles look to avenge their 4-3 overtime loss to Syracuse CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt in Utica Saturday.
“We’re very confident,” Barriere said. “We know a couple teams that are going down, and we’re familiar with how they play. We’ve already played Queensbury this year. We know what we’ve got to do, so we’re going to come out playing as hard as we can.”
Beekmantown 8, Pelham 3
Beekmantown 3 1 4 — 8
Pelham 0 3 0 — 3
First period- 1, BCS, Barriere (Foster), 0:18. 2, BCS, Buksa (Foster), 3:18. 3, BCS, Foster (Buksa, Barriere), 14:38.
Second period- 4, P, Mazzaro (Cullen), 1:21. 5, BCS, Buksa (Barriere, Foster), 4:17. 6, P, Cullen, 7:17. 7, P, Peters (Cullen, Schauer), 12:55.
Third period- 8, BCS, Constanty (Bisonette), 0:49. 9, BCS, Foster (Bisonette), 4:16. 10, BCS, Parent (Foster, Barierre), 7:02. 11, BCS, Foster (Constanty, Bisonette), 10:11.
Shots: Pelham 33. Beekmantown 25.
Saves: Plumadore, BCS, 30. DeYoung, P, 17.
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