It took the Soldotna hockey team 15 minutes to find the right gear.
Once it happened, the Stars never slowed down.
SoHi scored five goals over the final 30 minutes after a scoreless opening period, earning a 5-0 win against visiting Palmer in Northstar Conference action Thursday.
“We started off kind of slow, but we knew we could play with them,” SoHi coach Aaron Swanson said. “The guys turned it on, so we’re really happy with the effort.”
Jonas Perletti, Dalton Pearson and Max Hegge scored during a five-minute span in the second period, and Hegge and Jarrett Urban added insurance goals in the third as the Stars moved to 8-1-1 in winning their fourth consecutive game.
First-year goaltender Cody Harvey notched his third shutout in as many games, improving to 6-1-1 as a starter.
He made 35 saves.
“Amazing,” Harvey said of earning the shutout.
Perletti tallied the game’s first score, scooping up a loose puck in his own end and streaking down the ice for a breakaway goal with 11:24 left in the second.
The unassisted goal came with the Moose on a power play.
Less than four minutes later, with the Stars on a two-man advantage after a pair of Palmer infractions, Kevin Stone sent a left-to-right cross to Pearson, who beat Palmer goaltender Ashton Good with a one-timer.
The Stars completed the second-period barrage with 5:51 remaining when Josh Kerkvliet fired a shot from the left side and Hegge steered it in from point-blank range. Kerkvliet and Stone earned assists on the exchange.
It took Hegge 27 seconds to find the net again in the third before Urban completed the blowout with a strike midway through the frame.
SoHi finished with a pair of goals on the power play, another short-handed and two more at even strength.
“We’re getting scoring from every facet of the game, which is exciting,” Swanson said. “Our special teams play looked pretty good. Definitely want to tighten it up a little bit, but we’re very excited with what we saw.”
The tone wasn’t as rosy outside the locker room for the Moose, who committed 12 infractions for 24 minutes.
Coach Brad Hanson wasn’t about to supply any answers, either.
“It wasn’t our best game,” said Hanson, who declined to elaborate and made his players unavailable for comment.
The Moose look to pick up the pieces against Kenai Central at 6 p.m. today at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Meanwhile, the Stars are off to about the best start imaginable, their only loss coming to powerhouse Service.
“Like we’ve been telling the kids from the get-go, it’s a process going through the whole season,” Swanson said. “We’re excited about the wins, so we’ll enjoy this one tonight and then focus on tomorrow.”
Much of the credit goes to Harvey, who hasn’t yielded a goal in more than 135 minutes.
“We’re doing a lot better than I thought,” Harvey said, adding his confidence is growing. “Hopefully I can just keep getting shutouts.”
Kenai Central 1,
Wasilla 1 OT
Overtime didn’t determine a winner as the Kardinals and Warriors skated to a tie in a Northstar Conference contest Thursday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
The Kards (3-4-2) host Palmer at 6 p.m. today on the same ice.
Kenai Central goaltender Keegan Remsen and counterpart Zach Eastham stole the show in Thursday’s contest, combining for 78 saves.
Remsen made 46, including a few game-savers, while Eastham notched 32.
Remsen made the save of the night with about four minutes to play in overtime when he thwarted a three-on-zero breakaway, denying a Cooper Hanson shot from close range to preserve the tie.
It also looked as though the Warriors had the go-ahead goal inside the eight-minute mark of the final period, but Remsen got a glove on a shot by Chancie Hanson. The rebound bounced to a Wasilla player, but Kenai Central’s goalie recovered to block the follow-up shot.
Wasilla took a 1-0 lead with 8:02 to play in the second period when Troy Verplancke finished assists from Brett Keene and Rell Sturdevant.
But the Kards found the equalizer on a power play at the 5:30-mark as Jake Eubank buried a shot with 1:19 remaining on the advantage. Zack Zulkanycz and Matthew Morse earned assists.
It was a clean game as the squads combined for six infractions.
Colony 4, Mariners 1
The visiting Mariners picked up a Northstar Conference victory on Thursday.
Stephen Kempinski got the scoring started for the Knights with an unassisted goal with 5 minutes, 32 seconds, left in the first period. Clem Tillion tied the game for Homer less than a minute later.
Colony took the lead for good with 2:01 left in the first. Gabriel Gamez scored on an assist from Trevor Naylor.
The Knights scored one goal in the second and third periods. Jonathon Boyer scored in the second unassisted. Curtis Foster scored in the third on an assist from Naylor.
Forest Savel had 27 saves for the Knights, while Alex Sanarov saved 25 pucks for Homer.
Stars 5, Moose 0
First period — No scoring. Penalties — Palmer 4 for 8:00; Soldotna 3 for 6:00.
Second period — 1. Soldotna, Perletti (unassisted), sh, 3:26; 2. Soldotna, Pearson (Stone), 7:13; 3. Soldotna, Hegge (Stone, Kerkvliet), pp, 8:09. Penalties — Palmer 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 3 for 6:00.
Third period — 4. Soldotna, Hegge (Kerkvliet), 0:27; 5. Soldotna, Urban (Hegge), pp, 8:02. Penalties — Palmer 6 for 12:00; Soldotna 3 for 6:00
Penalties — Palmer 12 for 24:00; Soldotna 9 for 18:00.
Shots on goal — Palmer (13-10-12—35); Soldotna (7-10-7—24).
Goalies — Palmer, Good (24 shots, 19 saves); Soldotna, Harvey (35 shots, 35 saves).
Warriors 1, Kardinals 1 OT
Wasilla 0100 —1
First period — No scoring. Penalties – Wasilla 1 for 2:00; Kenai Central none.
Second period — 1. Wasilla, Verplancke (Sturdevant, Keene), 6:58; 2. Kenai Central, Eubank (Morse, Zulkanycz), pp, 9:30. Penalties — Wasilla 3 for 6:00; Kenai Central none.
Third period — No scoring. Penalties – Wasilla none; Kenai Central 1 for 2:00.
Overtime — No scoring. Penalties – Wasilla 1 for 2:00; Kenai Central none.
Penalties — Wasilla 5 for 10:00; Kenai Central 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Wasilla (14-9-15-5—43); Kenai Central (14-13-5-4—37).
Goalies — Wasilla, Eastham (37 shots, 36 saves); Kenai Central, Remsen (43 shots, 42 saves).
Knights 4, Mariners 1
First period — 1. Colony, Kempinski (un.), 9:28; 2. Homer, Tillion (un.), 10:24; 3. Colony, Gamez (Naylor), 12:59. Penalties — Colony 1 for 2:00; Homer 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 4. Colony, Boyer (un.), 11:54. Penalties — Colony 1 for 2:00; Homer 3 for 6:00.
Third period — 5. Colony, Foster (Naylor), 10:23. Penalties — Homer 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal — Colony 12-12-5—29; Homer 11-10-7—28.
Goalies — Colony, Savel (28 shots, 27 saves); Homer, A. Sanarov (29 shots, 25 saves).