WASILLA — The tournament seeds for the upcoming North Star Conference Championships are far from set. But the Soldotna Stars are hoping to parlay success on the road into an added advantage at home.
Soldotna skated a step closer to securing a top seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming region tourney, which the Stars will host at the Soldotna Sports Center, by grabbing a 2-1 overtime win over the Colony Knights at the Curtis C. Menard II Memorial Ice Arena in Wasilla on Friday night.
Dalton Pearson chased down a loose puck and scored a breakaway goal 40 seconds into overtime to give the Stars the win, and help Soldotna improve to 6-1-0 in North Star play.
In the opening minute of the tiebreaker, Pearson jumped on the puck in the neutral zone, raced up the left wing past the defense, crossed in front of the skate and used a quick move to beat Colony goalie Forrest Savel.
“He’s a goal scorer, one of our better players for sure,” Soldotna head coach Aaron Swanson said of Pearson. “I was excited to see he had a little bit of space to make a move. He made a move and buried it.”
Pearson tallied the game-winner in overtime, but Soldotna goalie Cody Harvey made arguably the play of the game in regulation.
Late in the third, with the Stars on the power play, Colony forward Jonathon Boyer raced up the ice, broke free and lifted a shot toward the Soldotna net. Harvey went toward the ice on the Boyer breakaway, but at the last second, reached up and snatched the puck out of the air with his glove to kill the Colony opportunity. Harvey’s Soldotna teammates on the ice immediately celebrated with their goalie after the save.
“Harvey came up big. He doesn’t make that save, and it’s a whole different game for sure,” Swanson said. “The guys on the bench were excited and relieved at the same time. We were excited he made the save, but on the same token, we kind of dodged a bullet.”
Harvey’s save was representative of a night’s work for both goalies. Harvey stopped 14 shots, including a number of quality chances. Savel was stellar, making 28 saves.
“Both goalies were outstanding all night,” Swanson said. “The goaltending for both teams has been outstanding all season.”
Soldotna outshot the Knights 14-3 in the first, but it was the Knights who skated into the intermission with a 1-0 lead. Morgan McJimsey scored on the power play early in the period to give Colony the advantage. The defenseman stepped up to the top of the left wing circle and snapped a wrister into the SoHi net.
“The goal they got was a nice power-play goal,” Swanson said. “Good shot, good play on their part.”
Soldotna tied the score late in the second, scoring immediately off a faceoff in the Colony end. Shayne Miller won the draw, shifted the puck to Nick Wrobel, who then found Ty Fenton anchored to the left of the Colony net. Fenton managed to slip a puck past Savel to knot the score at 1.
It’s the second meeting of the season between the NSC rivals, and the second overtime game of the series. Colony edged Soldotna in overtime in Soldotna in December.
“It was a battle, the same kind of game with played with them on the Peninsula,” Swanson said. “Same thing, went to overtime. Luckily, we were able to get the winner tonight.”
Soldotna 2, Colony 1 OT
Friday, Menard Arena
First period — 1. Colony- McJimsey (Boyer) pp 13:14.
Second period — 2. Soldotna- Fenton (Wrobel, S. Miller) 3:43.
Third period — no scoring.
Overtime — 3. Soldotna- Pearson (unassisted) 7:40.
Shots on goal: Soldotna 30, Colony 15; Saves: Soldotna- Harvey 14.
Palmer 8, Kenai Central 2
PALMER — The Palmer Moose barraged the Kenai Kardinals on Friday night.
Palmer put 50 shots on net, and eight in net, during an 8-2 win over the Kardinals at the MTA Events Center in Palmer.
Senior Dalton Buness notched the hat trick to lead the Moose, and Jacob Inukai and Miles George collected a pair of goals each to help Palmer improve to 5-3-1 in North Star Conference play.
Ivan Good also scored for Palmer.
The Moose outshot Kenai 50-20 in the win. Kenai goalie Kegen Remsen made 42 saves for the Kardinals. Remsen, who made 40 saves during a 2-0 win over Wasilla on Thursday, saw a combined 90 shots in two games.
Zach Zulkanycz scored twice for Kenai.
Good led the Moose with four assists. Defenseman Trey Garrod and Brennan Harrison tallied two assists each for Palmer.
Palmer 8, Kenai 2
Friday, MTA Events Center
First period — 1. Palmer- Inukai (I. Good) 12:59; 2. Kenai- Zulkanycz (Dukowitz) 8:07; 3. Palmer- Buness (Garrod, Inukai) 6:04; 4. Palmer- George (unassisted) 5:57.
Second period — 5. Palmer- Buness (I. Good, Inukai) 7:55; 6. Palmer- I. Good (Buness) 2:07; 7. Kenai- Zulkanycz (Mese) 2:01; 8. Palmer- George (Garrod) 1:03; 9. Palmer- Inukai (I. Good, Harrison) 0:12.
Third period — 10. Palmer- Buness (I. Good, Harrison) 7:35.
Shots on goal: Palmer 50, Kenai 20; Saves: Kenai- Remsen 42, Palmer- A. Good 18.
Wasilla 5, Homer 0
WASILLA — Five different players scored to lead Wasilla over the Homer Mariners at the Brett Memorial Ice Arena on Friday.
Brandon Trush, Tegan Harrington, Dylan McRee, Chancie Hanson and Tanner Schachle each found the back of the net for the Warriors, who outshot Homer 44-9 in the game. Wasilla outshot opponents a combined 84-19 in consecutive games against Kenai and Homer.
Lauren Massie stopped all nine shots he faced to earn the shutout.
Wasilla 5, Homer 0
Friday, Brett Arena
First period — 1. Wasilla- Trush (unassisted) 6:21.
Second period — 2. Wasilla- Harrington (Fletcher, Trush) 4:24; 3. Wasilla- McRee (Keene) 13:41.
Third period — 4. Wasilla- Ch. Hanson (unassisted) pp 3:21; 5. Wasilla- Schachle (Sturdevant) 10:56.
Shots on goal: Homer 4-4-1—9, Wasilla 15-18-11—44; Saves: Homer- Sanarov 14-16-9—39, Wasilla- Massie 4-4-1—9.