GLENS FALLS — Frustrated after a scoreless first period Friday, the Queensbury hockey team simply kept up the pressure on the Beekmantown net.
Casey Moulton and Gabe Smith broke through with goals 40 seconds apart late in the second period as the Spartans went on to a 4-1 victory on the first day of the Adirondack Rivermen Winter Classic.
In Friday night’s late game, the Rivermen came up short in a 2-1 loss to Rye. Jordan Willis scored for Adirondack late in the first period, but Rye’s Liam Hurley netted the go-ahead goal with 13 seconds left in the second period.
The teams switch partners on Saturday, with Queensbury facing Rye at 11:30 a.m., followed by the Rivermen vs. Beekmantown.
On Friday, Queensbury and Beekmantown spent most of the first two periods in a scoreless tie, but the Spartans were keeping the puck in the Eagles’ end for long stretches.
“That was the talk in the locker room (after the first period),” said senior forward Austin Gordon, who scored a goal and added two assists. “Just keep going, keep going, (the goals) are going to come.”
“After the first period, we were kind of frustrated, but we kept pushing on,” senior defenseman Patrick Williams said. “That’s the type of team we are, we just grind out.”
Gordon netted a goal 11 seconds into the third period for a 3-0 lead, and later assisted on Mason Wildermuth’s last-minute goal to complete the scoring. Owen Smith collected 11 saves in goal for Queensbury.
“We outshot them 20-something to six after two periods,” said Queensbury head coach Dean Williams, whose team improved to 4-4 overall. “And for a team on the other end, having a 0-0 game works to their benefit, because a loose puck here or there, and we’re gripping our stick a little bit tighter. So it was nice to have those back-to-back goals, and to score 10 seconds into the third was deflating for them.
“I think we’re going to be a team that will depend a lot on puck possession and being patient to get those goals,” Dean Williams added. “We had a really good effort from start to finish.”
The Spartans have a good mix of senior veterans — Gordon, Patrick Williams and the Smith twins, Gabe and Liam are fifth-year varsity players — and talented young players.
“We’re in a nice situation where we can roll out four lines — we haven’t been able to do that in five or six years,” Dean Williams said. “We’re playing 12 forwards, so that’s been nice. We’re happy with where we’re at.”
“We’re on stride to be a very good team this year,” Gordon said. “Our record doesn’t show it, but in the locker room, we know it.”
“I’m very confident that we can go far this year,” Patrick Williams added. “We’re confident with each other. ... When the goals started coming, we got a pat on the back and more motivation to keep going.”
Queensbury and the Rivermen will play each other in the annual Stick Game on Feb. 8, and the rivalry game has been moved back to the Cool Insuring Arena.
“Myself and (Queensbury athletic director) Rich Keys had talked about moving the game,” Glens Falls athletic director Chip Corlew said. “The last time we had it (at the Rec Center) we turned away a lot of fans. So instead of limiting the crowd that wants to see high school hockey, Rich was able to get it moved, and we’re looking forward to keeping it at the Cool Insuring Arena for years to come.”
Queensbury 4, Beekmantown 1
Beekmantown 0 0 1 — 1
Queensbury 0 2 2 — 4
First period: None.
Second period: 1, Queensbury, Casey Moulthrop (Liam Smith), 3:28. 2, Queensbury, Gabe Smith (Austin Gordon, Brendan Duffy), 2:48.
Third period: 3, Queensbury, Austin Gordon (Brendan Duffy, Patrick Williams), 14:49. 4, Beekmantown, Matthew Maggy (Cody Repas, Collin Latinville), 10:53. 5, Queensbury, Mason Wildermuth (Austin Gordon), 1:03.
Goalies-saves: Riley Hansen (Beek) 30. Owen Smith (Q) 11.
Records: Queensbury (4-4).
Rye 2, Rivermen 1
Rye 1 1 0 — 2
Rivermen 1 0 0 — 1
First period: 1, Rye, Sasha Vasyuta (Tommy Curran), 11:46. 2, Rivermen, Jordan Willis (Vinny Marine), 5:11.
Second period: 3, Rye, Liam Hurley (Will Chader, Seamus Carroll), :13.
Third period: None.
Goalies-saves: Peter Patouhas (Rye) 12. Benjamin Di Fiore (Riv) 13.
Records: Rye (4-3), Adirondack Rivermen (1-5-1).