LAKE PLACID - While the Saranac Lake varsity boys hockey team was able to control the opening minutes of its Jan. 15 game against Lake Placid, the Blue Bombers were doing a good job keeping the Red Storm off the scoreboard.
Something needed to break.
That's when Matt Phelan hustled to collect a puck that had been sent down into the Lake Placid zone during a Blue Bomber power play and found a wide open Devin Darrah, who beat Bomber goalie Brody Hayes gloveside to score a shorthanded goal that opened the doors for a 4-1 Red Storm victory.
"I saw the puck go deep and I had a good jump on it, so I went for it," Phelan said, who later scored the second goal of the game on an assist from Darrah. "Devin was wide open and he made a good play on the puck to beat the goalie."
"Matt really hustled down the ice," Darrah said, who scored his second goal of the game with just over one minute left in the second period. "I could tell the goalie was thinking I was going to go left and I was able to stop and change my shot."
"That first goal kind of got them back on their heals," coach Will Ellsworth said after the game. "Matt came down the ice and dug the puck out and found the open skater."
The short-handed tally was part of a spectacular day for the Red Storm penalty kill unit, which blanked the Blue Bombers on seven power play opportunities, including a 33-second span where the red Storm was two men down.
"We work on that a lot in practice," said Darrah. "We work to force the opponent to one side and make sure that they are not getting clean shots."
"The shorthand team was really good tonight," said goalie Tyler O'Neill, who recorded 18 saves in the win. "Lake Placid couldn't really possess the puck in our end and we were getting the puck down the ice. Most of the shots they had were from outside, and my teammates always gave me a good look at them."
"We just were not working hard enough on the power play," Lake Placid head coach Keith Clark said after the game. "There were a lot of times that we were not setting up right, and when we did, we got decent chances. They were skating and moving well and they got rewarded on a shorthanded opportunity."
The Blue Bombers broke up O'Neill's shutout just over three minutes into the final period, as Dillon Savage put home a deflection off a shot by Dylan Smith to give the Bombers their lone goal.
"We talked about going out and winning the third period and build off of that," Clark said. "We got a couple of good chances in the period and we accomplished our goal, so there were some good things that we can take out of this game."
Brody Hayes made 21 saves for the Blue Bombers.