All of the magic from 1980 bottled up and sent to Buffalo on Saturday wouldn’t have helped Lake Placid get past Kenmore East in the state hockey semifinals.
The Section VI champion Bulldogs scored early and often on the way to an astonishing, 11-0 victory that earned them a matchup with Skaneateles in Sunday’s Division II state championship game at HarborCenter.
“I never would’ve expected it,” Ken East coach Kyle Pray said of the goal-scoring bonanza. “We have a couple lines really working on all cylinders and I just hope they can continue that one more game.”
The Section VII champs from Lake Placid, the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics and the famed Miracle on Ice game, managed only one shot on goal in the first period as Kenmore East raced to a 6-0 lead. A.J. Marinelli netted a hat trick in the game’s first 15 minutes on the way to a four-goal, four-assist night while linemate Trevor Pray, the coach’s son, scored three and set up three. Anthony Tulipane was close behind on the stat sheet with two goals and two assists.
Kenmore East continued its breakneck pace in the second period with three early power-play goals that stretched the lead to nine. Lake Placid trailed 11-0 in the third period before goalie Kamm Cassidy was shown mercy and relieved.
“We were all rolling pretty good,” Marinelli said. “We’re feeling pretty good but we’re just trying to get focused back on” the championship game.
“It was a fun time,” Tulipane added. “The boys were loving it.”
Kenmore East had its way in the offensive zone, blitzing through the Blue Bombers’ defense and threading the needle on a handful of backdoor passes for tap-in after tap-in that started to feel like a video game glitch. Pray and Marinelli were especially effective together, linking up for five of East’s 11 goals.
“We’ve been playing together since forever,” Marinelli said. “We know where each other is on the ice and it works out pretty well.”
But perhaps even more impressive than hitting double-digits on the scoreboard was how thoroughly Kenmore East dominated possession and controlled play. Shots on goal were 15-1 after the first period while shot attempts favored East, 26-3. The second period was more of the same, with East pushing its margins to 28-4 in shots on goal and 51-10 in shot attempts.
“Kenmore East is great around the net,” Lake Placid coach Butch Martin said. “They have a lot of skilled players and they didn’t miss a chance.”
Martin also said his team’s best player, Chris Williams (38 goals, 72 points), took a knee-on-knee hit early in the game and was severely limited.
“We lost our best player in the first five minutes of the game,” he said. “He was one-legged the rest of the game, not a factor at all.”
Lake Placid was 0-for-2 on the power play while Kenmore East notched three goals on its two man-advantages, which included a major penalty.
Kenmore East will meet defending state champion Skaneateles of Section III at 3 p.m. Sunday for the state title. The Lakers rallied for three third-period goals to beat Pelham in Saturday’s other semifinal, 3-1.
Kenmore East won a state title in 2012 after falling in the semifinals in 2009. Pray said one of the keys to earning another championship Sunday is keeping the intensity up and not letting his players lose focus after such a lopsided score on Saturday.
“That’s definitely a concern. We just had a good talk about that,” he said. “We know that we’re facing the defending state champion. I think it was good that we got to see them before our game, they watched them, so they know they have a very formidable opponent.”