SARANAC LAKE - A close match between two division rivals made for some exciting action Sept. 17, as AuSable Valley and Saranac Lake played to a 2-2 tie in CVAC boys soccer.
The two teams proved to be evenly matched as they both tallied several shots on goal. The Patriots finished with a 24-22 advantage in shots.
"We had our opportunities and they had their opportunities," said Saranac Lake head coach Bill Wilson. "Unfortunately, they got one goal at the beginning that they shouldn't have got."
Robert Lee opened the scoring early in the first half off a cross from Alex Connor in front of the goal box, but Saranac Lake soon knotted things up at one apiece when Pat McHugh put a ball out in front for Will Fieroh, who beat his defender and scored from 10 yards out.
"When we possessed the ball, we clearly outplayed them," said Patriots head coach Rick Hamilton, "but we got into the habit of banging the ball up and down the field, which is exactly what [Saranac Lake] wanted to do."
The trend continued in the second half as Saranac Lake developed most of their scoring chances in transition. McHugh weaved past defenders to score on an open net for a 2-1 lead.
AuSable Valley kept the pressure on, drawing several direct kicks and corner kicks, but many of their opportunities were stifled by strong defensive play from Saranac Lake fullbacks Wyatt Daviaut and Idriz Cecunjanin and goalie Ricky Schmidt.
"They were very fast," said Hamilton of the Red Storm, "They got up and down the field well and they defended well in their half. They were very physical and very aggressive."
With just 96 seconds remaining, the Patriots broke through when Ryan Lee quickly played an indirect kick ahead to Sean Pulsifer, who found the lower right corner for the equalizer.
The back-and-forth play continued through two overtime periods, but defense prevailed as Schmidt and AuSable Valley goalie Jeremy Wood both made some crucial saves.
"I was really impressed with how we came back with just a minute and a half left," Hamilton said. "That was a real team lifter. It would have been nice if we would have won, but we're happy with a tie rather than a loss."
1 2 OT 2OT - F
AuSable Valley 1 1 0 0 - 2
Saranac Lake 1 1 0 0 - 2
First Half: 1, AV, Ro. Lee (Connor) 4:14. 2, SL, Fieroh (McHugh) 6:08.
Second Half: 3, SL, McHugh 20:14. 4, AV, Pulsifer (Ry. Lee) 38:24.
Shots: AuSable Valley 24, Saranac Lake 22
Saves: Wood (AV) 6, Schmidt (SL) 12.