UTICA — A season ago, the Beekmantown boys’ hockey team squandered a two-goal lead and was on the wrong end of an overtime heartbreaker in the NYSPHSAA Division II semifinals.
The Eagles, however, were far from déjà vu at the Utica Memorial Auditorium Saturday.
After facing a one-goal deficit in the first period where they were outshot 10-2, No. 1 Beekmantown rallied from behind, getting two third-period goals from Kyle Bisonette and Nate Foster in a 2-1 defeat of No. 3 Auburn of Section III.
With the win, the Eagles (19-4-1) advance to the Division II state championship against No. 2 Webster Schroeder of Section V at 3:45 p.m.
“I said before we even came down here, ‘Any great goal in life that you want to obtain, you’re going to face challenges and adversities along the way. It’s the team that handles those challenges and adversities the best that’s going to come out the winner at the end of the game,’” Beekmantown coach Justin Frechette said. “We answered the bell. We made a few adjustments in the locker room systematically in what we were doing.
“At the end of the first period, they had a little momentum. I thought the second and third period, we came out and took it to them. The changes we made and the way those kids adjusted to the changes, they never quit. They kept that mentality for the full 45 minutes, and then we were able to close it out at the end.”
The Maroons (17-8) got on the board first at 8:47 of the first period. Nick Netti, a senior forward, went uncovered in the low slot and beat goaltender Dustin Plumadore with a wrist shot upstairs.
“I think we were making some small mistakes,” Foster said. “But I mean, credit to them, they’re a good defensive team. We kept pressuring them, and we knew they would crack eventually. I think we saw them crack.”