The puck takes a lot of weird bounces in the game of hockey.
The Soldotna Stars were the victims of a weird bounce Thursday night, and it cost them a possible victory.
Palmer escaped with a 3-2 overtime win over SoHi at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex with a controversial goal halfway through the eight-minute overtime period. As a Stars skater tried to clear the puck behind the SoHi net, Palmer’s Darian Wilson got a stick on it and managed to poke the puck in for a game-winning goal.
However, there was confusion on both benches as the puck appeared to have made it past SoHi goalie Corbin Wirz from behind, never crossing the goal line. After several minutes of SoHi skaters trying to appeal to the referees by pointing out at least two holes in the netting, including one at the seam connecting the net and left post, the officials finally called the goal good and handed the win to the Moose.
SoHi head coach Indy Walton was disappointed with how the finish was settled.
“I’m very confident (it wasn’t a goal),” Walton said. “I’m disappointed with the refs, there was enough evidence to overturn it. Without a doubt.”
Walton’s chief complaint was with the apparent lack of inspection by the officials before the game. In addition to the netting, the ice also was deemed unfit to play on early in the third period, leading to a brief timeout to let the ice dry after the Zamboni resurfacing left pools of water in areas of the rink.
The result of the excess water indirectly led to a Palmer goal just 79 seconds into the third period when the puck dragged to a stop between the goal line and right faceoff circle, allowing a Palmer skater to reach it before a SoHi player.
“We still got one point for the tie, but it could’ve been two points for a win,” Walton said.
The loss dropped SoHi to 1-6-1 overall and 0-2 in the North Star Conference.
The wild ending was preceded by a frenetic final few minutes of regulation that saw the Stars rally from a 2-0 deficit with a pair of goals by Galen Brantley III. Brantley III scored with 3:52 remaining in the game to cut Palmer’s lead to 2-1, then tied it up with 2:02 left, forcing overtime.
Before Brantley’s late game heroics, Palmer goaltender Cale Winder played the hero role with a shutout that lasted over 41 minutes. Winder finished with 32 saves on 34 shots for the night. Wirz had 28 saves on 31 shots for SoHi.
The first 27 minutes, 8 seconds, went scoreless until Palmer struck first. Noah Kiel finally broke the deadlock with 2:52 remaining in the second with a chip off a rebound from Darian Wilson in front of the SoHi net, rewarding the Moose’s patience on the offensive ice.
The Stars nearly had a game-tying goal with seconds left in the period when Braxton Urban lifted a shot up on Winder, only to see Winder deflect the puck and knock it away with a second swipe.
Nathan Hooks scored early in the third period to put Palmer up 2-0, slipping the puck by a diving Wirz on a wraparound shot, with help from Owen Hayes and Luke Theisen.
Hooks was called for a roughing penalty with 8:28 to go, but SoHi produced a mostly ineffective power play.
After scoring two goals to tie it up, Brantley was hit with a roughing call at the end of regulation, putting the two teams at four-on-four to begin the eight-minute overtime period.
The Stars will face Wasilla tonight at 5:45 p.m. at the Sports Complex and Colony at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Colony 8, Kenai Central 0
Cole Doss stopped 23 shots in a shutout victory to send the Knights to a North Stars Conference win over Kenai on Thursday at the Kenai Multipurpose Facility.
Foster Riekena scored twice and added an assist for Colony and Cooper Smith had a five-point night with a goal and four assists.
“We made a couple mistakes and Colony capitalized on them,” said Kenai head coach Jacob Newton. “We’ve got to keep working and get better.”
Kenai dropped to 1-1 in the conference with the loss.
Newton said he did not see a vast difference in talent between the two sides, but reiterated that the Knights took advantage of Kenai’s errors.
“We’ve got to keep our feet moving, keep going hard on our forecheck, and keep the intensity up,” he said.
Kenai goaltender Josh Tree was pelted with 45 shots, making 37 saves.
Kenai hung with Colony for the first period, only giving up a short-handed goal to Tae Evans with two minutes left.
The Knights returned with fire in the second period, scoring three times to boost the lead to 4-0. Riekena and Smith teamed up to help Mitchell Diltz score with eight minutes left to push the lead to 2-0, and Smith scored one 31 seconds later to make it 3-0.
Kenai hosts Palmer tonight at 7 p.m. and Wasilla Saturday at noon.
Homer 4, Wasilla 1
After Wasilla’s Porter Schachle scored unassisted in the second period to give his team a 1-0 lead, the host Mariners came back with four unanswered goals to notch the North Star Conference victory.
Schachle scored with 10:37 left in the second period, but by 7:08 left in the period, Isaiah Nevak, JJ Williamson and Dimitry Kuzmin had all scored for the Mariners. Spencer Warren salted away the game for Homer by scoring with a second remaining in the game.
Hunter Warren had 24 saves for the Mariners, while Aaron Campbell made 23 saves for the Warriors.
Homer hosts Colony on Friday at 7 p.m. and Palmer at noon Saturday.
Moose 3, Stars 2
Palmer 0 1 1 1 —3
Soldotna 0 0 2 0 —2
First period — no scoring. Penalties — none.
Second period — 1. Palmer, Kiel (Wilson), 12:08. Penalties — none.
Third period — 2. Palmer, Hooks (Hayes, Theisen), 1:19; 3. Soldotna, Brantley (Montague, Schmelzenbach), 11:08; 4. Soldotna, Brantley (Walton, Schmelzenbach), 12:58. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00; Palmer 2 for 4:00.
Overtime — 5. Palmer, Wilson (unassisted), 3:40. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00; Palmer 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Soldotna 11-9-11-3—34; Palmer 11-10-8-2—31.
Goalies — Soldotna, Wirz (31 shots, 28 saves); Palmer, Winder (34 shots, 32 saves).
Knights 8, Kardinals 0
Colony 1 3 4 —8
Kenai 0 0 0 —0
First period — 1. Colony, Evans (Smith), SH, 12:52. Penalties — Kenai 1 for 5:00; Colony 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 2. Colony, Diltz (Riekena, Smith), 6:52; 3. Colony, Smith (unassisted), 7:23; 4. Colony, Amato (Smith, Hessinger), 11:01. Penalties — Kenai 3 for 6:00; Colony 1 for 2:00.
Third period — 5. Colony, Riekena (Diltz), 1:56; 6. Colony, Korynta (Fike), 3:18; 7. Colony, Riekena (Smith, Evans), 9:07; 8. Colony, Hessinger (Franzen), 14:46. Penalties — Kenai 2 for 7:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai 7-8-8—23; Colony 11-15-19—45.
Goalies — Kenai, Tree (45 shots, 37 saves); Colony, Doss (23 shots, 23 saves).
Mariners 4, Warriors 1
Wasilla 0 1 0 — 1
Homer 0 3 1 — 4
First period — none. Penalties — Homer 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 1. Wasilla, P. Schachle (un.), 4:23; 2. Homer, Nevak (Weston, Ross), 5:57; 3. Homer, Williamson (Blakely, Nevak), 7:11; 4. Homer, Kuzmin (un.), 7:52. Penalties — Wasilla 1 for 2:00; Homer 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 5. Homer, S. Warren (Kuzmin, Weston), 14:59. Penalties — Wasilla 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal — Wasilla 5-10-10—25; Homer 10-10-7—27.
Goalies — Wasilla, Campbell (27 shots, 23 saves); Homer, H. Warren (25 shots, 24 saves).