ROUSES POINT — The Northeastern Clinton boys’ hockey team needed a win or tie to secure home-ice advantage against Saranac Lake in the Section VII quarterfinals tonight.
After Dayton Roberts’ game-tying goal with one minute and 39 seconds remaining in regulation, Jordan LaMere’s late-game heroics in overtime gave the Cougars (8-7-1, 4-5-1) a dramatic 2-1 victory over the Red Storm (6-11-1, 3-7-0) in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference finale Monday.
“Really, it was a great way to end the regular season,” Northeastern Clinton coach Rob Francis said. “Saranac Lake, they’re a well-coached team. Their goalie played outstanding. But our guys don’t quit. We found a way to get the job done.”
David Cluckey, a senior captain, scored Saranac Lake’s lone goal to give the Red Storm a 1-0 lead at 8:56 of the first period. Brett Dawson was credited with an assist on the play.
The contest remained a one-goal game until Roberts tied it on an even-strength marker in the third period with 1:39 showing on the clock at the Rouses Point Civic Center. Reece Tucker and LaMere picked up helpers.
LaMere’s tally in the extra session solidified the win for the cardiac Cougars, securing home-ice advantage for Northeastern Clinton.
The Cougars led shots on goal, 33-13.
“We threw everything at the (Blake) Darrah kid, but he wasn’t allowing any rebounds,” Francis said. “For us to score that late in (regulation), it gave us a big boost.
“LaMere’s just a grinder. He had three or four whacks at it and stayed with it. Finally, he was able to bang it home for the game-winner.”
Anthony Piche stopped 12-of-13 shots faced between the pipes en route to the win. Darrah recorded a 31-save performance.
The two teams will do battle once again in the Section VII playoffs in Rouses Point tonight.
Northeastern Clinton 2, Saranac Lake 1 (OT)
Saranac Lake 1 0 0 0 — 1
NE Clinton 0 0 1 1 — 2
First period- 1, SLCS, Cluckey (Dawson), 8:56.
Third period- 2, NCCS, D. Roberts (Tucker, LaMere), 13:21.
Overtime- 3, NCCS, LaMere (Marks, Hurlburt), 2:04.
Shots: Northeastern Clinton 33. Saranac Lake 13.
Saves: Darrah, SLCS, 31. Piche, NCCS, 12.