TUPPER LAKE — The Tupper Lake varsity boys hockey team jumped out to an early first period lead over Ogdensburg Free Academy on Monday, but the Blue Devils left the Tupper Lake Memorial Civic Center with a 6-3 win.
“I think we came out really strong in the first period and then after that, they kind of got running around,” Lumberjack head coach Broyce Guerette said. “They weren’t winning their battle and I think that’s why we lost this game.”
The Lumberjacks’ offense came out strong, with Jack Demarais finding the back of the net on a pass from Philip Beaudette within the first six minutes of the game.
A few minutes later, Tupper Lake’s Jessie Kavanagh followed up with a goal of his own to end the period with a 2-0 lead. The Lumberjack’s Garrett Dewyea was credited with an assist on the play.
Even though Tupper Lake had the upper hand on the scoreboard, the Lumberjacks were not necessarily out-playing Ogdensburg.
The Blue Devils controlled the puck in the Lumberjack’s defensive zone and out-shot the host team 28-7 in just the first period.
Tupper Lake’s goaltender Jamin Whitemore, who shut down all 28 of the Blue Devils shots, played a big role in his team’s early lead. Whitemore finished the game with a triumphant 55 saves.
“Our goalie, he’s phenomenal. He’s like a ninja in net. Part of why we do end up losing is because we rely heavily on our goaltender to do his job,” Guerette said. “But boy oh boy, that guy can save just about anything that you throw at him.”
The two-goal lead did not hold up for very long. The Blue Devils scored five straight goals over the course of the second and third periods to take a three-goal lead over the Lumberjacks. OFA’s forward Dylan Irvine scored twice and had an assist during the five-goal stretch.
With around four minutes left in the game, an Ogdensburg player was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which gave the Lumberjacks a power play opportunity.
Looking to capitalize on the man advantage, Tupper Lake’s Griffin Shaheen carried the puck along the boards past the Blue Devils defenders before making a pass in front of the net to his teammate Demarais for the easy tap in goal. The goal was Demarais’ second of the game.
“That first power-play unit was all of our top guys. We’re really trying to get all of our top guys to lead by example,” Guerette said. “That was a prime time right there. We had our top guys looking for each other, making sure that they are giving the next power play-two unit a good idea where they need to be. It worked out.”
With a little bit of momentum, the Lumberjacks did all they could to mount a comeback until the Blue Devil’s Tegan Frederick intercepted a pass and scored on a breakaway to seal the victory. Ogdensburg finished the game with a 61-20 shot differential.
For Tupper Lake, who brought back its boys high school hockey team last season after not having a team for four years, the loss pushes the team’s record to 1-2. Though the team lost, Guerette said his team is relentless and is never willing to quit.
“Sometimes we get a little caught up in what our opponents are doing instead of playing our game,” Guerette said.
The Lumberjacks will take on its next opponent, Massena Central, which has yet to play a game this season, today at 7:30 p.m.