February 25, 2014

Blue Bombers, Eagles square off for Section VII title

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake Placid and Beekmantown boys’ hockey teams will battle for North Country supremacy when the two meet in the Section VII Division II championship tonight.

The puck is scheduled to drop at the Stafford Ice Arena at 8 p.m.

The top-seeded Blue Bombers (18-3), ranked No. 5 in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association (NYSSWA) poll, swept the regular-season series.

Lake Placid upended the Eagles (16-4-1) at the 1932 Rink 4-2 Jan. 22 before winning the second bout at the Ameri-Can North Sports Center 3-2 Feb. 13.

“This is a separate game,” Blue Bombers coach Keith Clark said. “We’re not trying to beat them for a third time this season, but one time. Those two previous games don’t mean too much in regards to this one game and the winner moves on and the loser doesn’t. That’s how we approach it. We want to build on our regular-season success and experiences.”

Lake Placid owns a balanced-scoring attack, but its defense has been the team’s backbone. Behind Tucker Angelopoulos, Kamm Cassidy and Lewis Collum in net, the Blue Bombers have surrendered all of 30 goals through 21 games.

“Going into this game, we know Beekmantown has got some speedy forwards, so we’re going to have to take care of the puck in our own end and be wise,” Clark said. “We pride ourselves on playing good team defense, but at the same time, you need to score goals to win as well.”

Sophomore forward Connor Preston has a team-high 15 goals, while senior forward Shane McNierney leads the team in assists (17) and points (27).

Five players have scored eight or more goals.

“One thing we’ve emphasized is doing it by community,” Clark said. “Offensively, it’s certainly been a key for us, not just relying on one or two kids. Generally, in these big games, you need someone, who you usually wouldn’t expect, to step up. We’ve been like that all year.

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