The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team received little holiday cheer from the visiting Homer Mariners over the weekend at Treadwell Arena in nonconference action in Juneau.
Playing the part of the holiday Grinch, North Star Conference foe Homer iced the Mid Alaska Conference Crimson Bears 4-1 on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday.
The Crimson Bears (5-10-1 overall) continued their first-period slow start Friday by surrendering two goals in three minutes.
“Homer was just more aware on the ice,” JDHS coach Dave McKenna said. “No excuses on our part. We have been discussing why we come out flat in the first period. It is not a reflection on how hard we are practicing. We just came out flat. We had eight games in 11 days, finals and holidays. We will do better.”
Homer’s Ethan Kizzia found the net at the 7:23 mark, assisted by Tommy Bowe, and Nikit Matveev scored at the 5:05 mark on assists by Konstantin Reutov and Dawson Roberts.
Kizzia’s goal came on a misplaced pass that Kizzia flipped over JDHS netminder Griffin Bozarth and into the netting just as the Crimson Bears were returning to full strength after a slashing penalty charged to Tod Baseden.
In the second period JDHS’ Grant Ainsworth took a pass from Cole Cheeseman at near the goal mouth and touched a hard shot that found space past Mariners goalie Alex Sanarov. Cheeseman had the puck at the blue line and passed up a slap shot when he spotted Ainsworth’s open stick inside.
“Those are the little things we have to do,” McKenna said. “It makes us a smarter team instead of just pounding it in.”
Less than a minute later Homer’s Keril Sanarov cut off a misplayed JDHS clear and blasted a shot from the right wing for a 3-1 advantage.
“They have a good goaltender,” McKenna said. “We have to find a way to get pucks up high on second opportunities. We had a lot of good opportunities right in front of the net but we kept putting the puck right into his pads. I liked our effort and intensity in the second period over the first, it is going to take more of the same.”
Homer added a goal at the 12:32 mark of the third period on a Bowe rebound, assisted by Owen Delehanty.
Physical play resulted in nine penalties: JDHS’ Baseden (slashing, hooking and unsportsmanlike conduct) and Kevin Zigarlick (head contact); Homer’s Dennis Sanarov (slashing, high stick), Konstantin Reutov (twice checking from behind) and Nikit Matveev (tripping).
Bozarth stopped 33 of 37 shots in the net for JDHS while Homer’s Sanarov had 19 saves.
Stars of the game went to Homer’s Bowe and Kizzia and JDHS’ Ainsworth.
Saturday, the Crimson Bears played strong through two periods before surrendering late goals.
“We had a team meeting before the game and talked about our focus,” McKenna said. “It really was not there Friday night. A lot of it happens before the game. It is about the little things like guys getting to the rink on time and having all their equipment. No distractions. That and just trying to up the intensity.”
Homer’s Clem Tillion scored unassisted at the 5:37 mark in a first period that saw JDHS outshot 13-4.
A power-play goal by Homer’s Bowe, assist Kizzia, with 5:45 remaining in the second could have given game momentum to the visitors but Ainsworth responded for the Crimson Bears on a power play with 1:38 remaining, on assists from Baseden, Cheeseman.
JDHS goalie Neil Chapman kept the Crimson Bears crease safe, stopping six shots in the period. The Crimson Bears had two more chances to score before the period expired.
Homer’s Keril Sanarov scored unassisted at 12:24 of the final period for a 3-1 lead. Baseden answered at the 9:50 mark (assist Ethan Seid) to close back within two goals.
The Mariners closed out the period with goals by JJ Sonnen, assists Tillion, Reutov, at 6:28 and Anton Kuzmin, assist Tillion, at 3:39. Homer outshot JDHS 31-15 in the game.
Players of the game were Homer’s Tillion and Bowe and JDHS’ Tod Baseden.
“Homer is pretty skilled and well rounded,” McKenna said. “They are a good match for us. We did not push them last night but we gave it a better show tonight. We were a lot more focused and the boys were talking hockey in the locker room. We have obviously played a lot of hockey together in the last few weeks and that helps. Our goal is consistency and effort from here on out.”