PLATTSBURGH — Nate Foster joked with teammate Matt LaClair before Beekmantown’s Section VII Division II boys’ hockey championship game against Lake Placid that LaClair’s first-career goal would prove to be a game winner.
Foster’s joke became a reality at the Stafford Ice Arena Tuesday.
Sparked by Foster’s hat-trick performance and LaClair’s game-winning tally at 10:55 of the third period, the No. 4-ranked Eagles (17-4-1) scored five unanswered goals in a 5-2 win to claim their second straight sectional crown.
With the victory, Beekmantown will now play No. 1 Pelham of Section I in the NYSPHSAA Division II quarterfinals at the Brewster Ice Arena at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.
“In championship hockey, you have to respond to the push from your opponent,” Eagles coach Justin Frechette said. “We did a great job (Tuesday) of responding to their push. They got up early on us, 2-0. I thought we were controlling the play. I know we outshot them 10-3 in the first period.
“It showed the character of our team (Tuesday) in that, being down 2-0, we stuck to it. We kept going, and we stuck to the game plan. We never panicked.”
The No. 3-ranked Blue Bombers (18-4) jumped out to a two-goal lead on back-to-back goals from Chris Williams and Connor Preston. Shane McNierney assisted on each of the two goals, while Ryan Damp added a helper on Preston’s marker.
“We’ve been in games like that,” Foster said. “In those games, you’ve just got to be mentally strong. We felt like we controlled the play. We came out and finished on our opportunities in the second and third period and came out on top.”
Foster put Beekmantown on the board at 12:27 of the second period. With Kyle Bisonette leaving a drop pass for Foster, the senior captain hammered home a shot from the low slot.