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MUHS boys hockey sunk by Lake Placid

MIDDLEBURY — Visiting New York power Lake Placid Central on Monday defeated the Middlebury Union High School boys’ hockey team, 4-0, in the Tigers’ Buster Brush Holiday Classic, but Coach Derek Bartlett was not unhappy with the Tigers’ effort.
Bartlett said playing teams like Lake Placid will help his 1-2-2 squad down the road.
“That’s why we have Lake Placid over here. They’re a very good team, very competitive,” Bartlett said. “We want to see teams like that on our schedule to prepare us for what we see at the end of our season, get us ready to play in those tight situations.”
The Blue Bombers defeated the tournament’s third team, Northeastern Clinton Central, also from New York, 9-0, on Saturday, to take home the trophy. The Tigers and Northeastern Clinton were set to meet in the event’s final game on Tuesday after the early holiday deadline for this edition of the Independent.
The Tigers also played on Saturday in a game that was not part of the tournament. MUHS pulled away with two third-period goals to defeat visiting Division II rival Harwood, 4-1. That was their first victory of the season, and it was sparked by two goals from Andrew Gleason, one each from Brett Viens and Justin Stone, and 18 saves from goalie Sawyer Ryan.
Bartlett was pleased with that game. 
“The boys played hard. They competed,” Bartlett said. “Fundamentally we were pretty solid on Saturday night. We had a little more time and space to make good decisions with the puck, and it paid off on the scoreboard. And we stayed out of the box, which was huge. Not one penalty.”
The Tigers also had good moments on Monday, many of them in the first period. After LP’s Connor Preston beat Tiger goalie Doug DeLorenzo (22 saves) from the right-wing circle at 2:14 (only after DeLorenzo had denied an earlier point-blank bid), the Tigers earned more time in the LP zone the rest of the period, and the shots ended up favoring the visitors by just one.
Viens, Tyler Crowningshield, Colton Leno (a breakaway that LP starting goalie Tucker Angelopoulos denied), and Stone created the best chances before the first intermission.
“After the first three minutes or so, I think the boys figured out what the pace was going to be, and we responded really well,” Bartlett said. “It was a pretty even first period, and I felt good about where we were at.”
But LP set up shop in the Tiger zone for long stretches of the second period and added two more goals. Bartlett said the Tigers sometimes lost their composure in their own end, to the visitors’ credit.
“At times we didn’t play very composed in the second period. I thought we panicked a little bit with the puck. But a lot of that speaks to their ability to take away our time and space and for them to be able to possess the puck,” he said. “They’re a very skilled team, a very fast team, and we just didn’t do a good job of handling the pressure in the second period.”
Again, DeLorenzo came up big early in the period, stopping Kiefer Casler from the slot. But again LP struck soon afterward, taking advantage of extended zone time and a deflection to make it 2-0 at 2:47, when Preston tipped home Noah Mohr’s shot from the right point.
At 9:14 another deflection made it 3-0. Mohr shot from the top of the right-wing circle, and the puck changed direction off a defender’s stick and went high into the net.
The Tigers had a chance to get back in the game when LP took a five-minute major late in the period, but LP’s second goalie, Kamm Cassidy, made saves on Leno, Crowningshield and Stone to preserve the shutout. Angelopoulos finished with 11 saves, while Cassidy made those three stops in the second and three more in the third period for a total of six.
The Tigers had two more chances in the third before the power play expired, but Stone hit the top of the crossbar, and Jerry Niemo’s bid on a River Payne set-up sailed just wide left. Cassidy’s third-period saves came on two Nathan Lalonde rockets from the left point and a Leno bid set up by Stone.
DeLorenzo made a nice save on Preston from the slot midway through the period, and also stopped Casler’s initial bid from just off the left post, but the rebound popped to Mohr waiting off the other post for the game’s final goal, at 11:59.
In all, LP outshot MUHS, 26-17, and Bartlett said the Tigers could easily have snuck a goal or two home. 
“They work hard. They’re looking for their opportunities. Maybe a little more puck luck tonight would have helped a little bit,” he said. “But overall we’re competing, and I felt like they gave it a good effort tonight.”
As the Tigers near the portion of their schedule in which they will face mostly D-II foes, starting with a game at Lyndon on Saturday, Bartlett remains optimistic.
“Division II is wide open. Just from watching the scoreboard we’re very competitive,” Bartlett said. “The Harwood team paid us some high compliments after our game Saturday night. I think we’re going to be in good shape as long as the guys keep working hard.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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