The sixth-seeded Mariners upset the third-seeded Colony Knights 3-0 Friday night at the Soldotna Sports Center in the North Star Conference tournament.
Homer scored early as freshman Kiril Sanarov shot with an assist from senior Kai Simmons just over six minutes into the game.
Senior Erik Rosencrans from Homer had a score and an assist to help his team advance in the tournament, and freshman Clem Tillion sealed the win with the assist from Rosencrans.
“Every coach hopes that you’re playing the best hockey of the year here at the end, and our goaltenders have been playing well the last few games,” Homer head coach Buck Laukitis said. “We’re getting scoring from different lines. We’re jelling at the right time.”
“We’re a little underestimated because of our record, so I think others see us as the underdogs, but we’ve played well, but haven’t found ways to win,” Laukitis said.
Colony head coach Jamie Smith credited Homer with outstanding play.
“They played unbelievable, their goalie came up with save after save. It’s like the perfect storm,” Smith said. “Our third line played extremely well tonight, and our goaltender has played extremely well all year, but gave up some soft goals tonight.”
Colony goaltender Forest Savel saved 21 of 24 shots in the game.
“We’re building towards next year now, and we have some young talent looking to win,” Smith said.
Laukitis said there are still aspects of Homer’s game needing to be improved.
“Honestly we didn’t play that well tonight, we were making mistakes, but we played well enough to win,” he said.
Laukitis praised the effort of goaltender Alex Sanarov, who saved all 32 shots Colony threw at him.
“I plan every game, and I just try my best,” Sanarov said. “We have to do what we did today to beat (Palmer) tomorrow.”
Homer will play the second-seeded Palmer Moose Saturday at 9:15 a.m. at the sports center. The winner advances to the final game at 7:30 p.m.
Mariners 3, Knights 0
Homer 1 0 2 —3
Colony 0 0 0 —0
First period — 1. Homer, Sanarov (Simmons) 6:18. Penalties — Colony 4 for 8:00.
Second period — none. Penalties — none.
Third period — 2. Homer, Rosencrans 4:00. 3. Homer, Tillion (Rosencrans) 10:40. Penalties — Homer 3 for 6:00, Colony 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Homer 11-11-10—32; Colony 11-5-8—24.
Goalies — Homer, Sanarov (32 shots-32 saves); Colony, Savel (24 shots-21 saves).