SARANAC LAKE — Playing in just its second home league contest this season, the Saranac Lake Placid boys hockey team suffered a 5-0 loss to the Beekmantown Eagles on Thursday at the Saranac Lake Civic Center.
While it wasn’t a pretty outcome, SLP head coach Josh Spanburgh said his team played “leaps and bounds better” than the last time they faced the Eagles on Jan. 11 when they were routed 10-2 on Beekmantown’s home ice.
“(The Eagles are) a well-coached team. They play a very well-disciplined team kind of game, and last week, they really put us in a bad spot,” Spanburgh said. “We had a lot of great practices this week and we’re really kind of proud of the effort, especially in the D-zone.”
Louis Sweenor paced Beekmantown with two goals and one assist. Zach LaPier, Sam Bingel and Novak Jarus also scored for the Eagles, which completed the season sweep over SLP. LaPier and Edward Sweenor added two assists each. The Eagles outshot SLP 45-13.
Beekmantown’s Jack Bell earned the shutout with 10 saves. Bell was replaced by Evan Whelan in the third period, who closed out the game with three stops. SLP’s Cassidy Goodman had a solid outing in net, finishing the game with 40 saves as SLP dropped to 3-6 overall.
“We’re in the second half of the season — that was one of the last 10 games on our schedule — but there are a lot of league games left,” Spanburgh said, “and a lot of opportunities for us to make progress. But tonight was for sure progress against a very good Beekmantown team.”
The Eagles opened the scoring on a short-handed goal from Louis Sweenor at 12:09 into the game. Beekmantown extended its lead when Bingel riffled a shot from the point into the back of the net in the first period.
The Eagles built a four-goal lead in the second on a one-timer from Jarus, followed by a powerplay goal from Louis Sweenor that hit the crossbar and in at 12:09 into the period. LaPier capped off the night with a goal at 5:46 in the final period.
SLP played a man down as its senior captain and starting right winger Evan Willett was out due to a sickness. Carver Bell, a freshman, replaced Willett on the first line, giving SLP a starting line of all freshman players with Carson St. Louis at center and Ayden McCormick at left wing.
“With a young group, they are starting to come a little more together,” Spanburgh said. “Every game, it’s got to be progress, and this was a progressive game for us.”
Thursday’s contest was the first of five straight home contests for the SLP boys. The team was slated to take on the Fayetteville-Manlius Hornets on Friday.
Following that game, SLP will face off against the Saranac Central Spartans in a league contest at the Saranac Lake Civic Center on Wednesday at 6 p.m. before hosting a tournament on Friday and Saturday next week at the Olympic Center’s 1932 Jack Shea Arena in Lake Placid.