The Kenai Central High School hockey team started the new year off in a big way, notching a 3-2 win over Service High School Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
“We came out big,” said Kenai’s Cory Johnson.
It did take the Kardinals a little while to get going. Kenai trailed 1-0 entering the third period, but Jed McGlasson quickly leveled the game with a nice move to cut across the slot and deft placement of the puck past Service goalie Aaron Sires 2:16 into the period.
Kyle Coleman gave Kenai its first lead of the game less than a minute later, banging home a long rebound from the right point, with assistance from James Barrett and Johnson.
With Service pressing in the middle of the period, Kenai coach Nate Kiel called a timeout to settle his troops down. The Kardinals responded immediately, winning the ensuing faceoff in their zone. Brad Fusaro fed McGlasson, who outskated the Service defense and made a nifty move to the goal, tucking the puck past Sires to give Kenai a 3-1 lead.
“Both teams were getting chances. It was just a matter of who buried their chances. In the third period, out forwards came up big,” said Kenai goaltender Ben Boycott.
Johnson called the timeout a turning point in the game.
“That pumped us up,” Johnson said. “That was the changing point. It settled us down and got us going.”
The Kardinals’ speedy forward lines also made a difference in the third period as some hard skating opened up the ice for nice passes.
“We definitely have a fast team. We have a lot of small guys, but a lot of team speed, especially up front. Our speed definitely gave us an edge, especially on the big ice,” said Boycott.
Johnson said quick line changes kept the Kardinals fresh even though they were playing with just two lines.
“We were shifting every 20 seconds, so it kept all of us with good legs,” Johnson said.
The Cougars pulled back to within a goal with just over five minutes to play, but Boycott continued his solid play in net down the stretch, and the Kardinals killed off a power play in the closing minutes to secure the win.
“It was a fun game,” Boycott said. “We maybe didn’t come out like maybe we wanted to, but the guys played well. They played solid in front of me and let me see the puck.
“(Service is) definitely a good team. It’s fun to win, but it’s funner to win when it’s good hockey.”
The victory provided the Kardinals with a boost of confidence as they prepare for the second half of the season.
“If I’m not wrong, it’s the first time in school history (that Kenai has beaten Service),” Boycott said. “Winning, especially against those big Anchorage schools, gives us a sense of accomplishment.”
Wasilla 5, Soldotna 1
The Stars came out sluggish in a North Star Conference loss to Wasilla and never recovered Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
“We were absolutely horrible. We were flat from the start of the game. We never really got into the flow of the game. It seemed like the kids were still on Christmas vacation tonight,” said Soldotna coach Aaron Swanson, adding that he hoped his team had gotten the poor performance out of its system.
Wasilla grabbed an early lead with first-period goals from Sam Thomas, Ansel Sandone and Track Palin.
Soldotna played better in the second period, and Clayton Glick netted an unassisted goal late in the frame, firing a wrist shot through traffic in the slot.
However, the Warriors reasserted control in the third period, adding two more goals. Joe Barkley and Joel Kenworthy scored for the Warriors.
Wasilla goaltender Ronnie Walker made eight saves on nine shots for the win. The Stars were able to put just one shot on goal in the final period. Soldotna goalie Micah Perletti made 32 saves on 37 shots for the Stars.
If there is a silver lining to the game, it’s that the Stars will learn from the experience. Swanson said he doubted his team would come out that flat again.
“This group can be tough on themselves, which is good,” Swanson said. “They push themselves to get better and to be better.”
Colony 7, Skyview 1
The Panthers put together a decent first period, but penalties disrupted their team play and the Panthers dropped a North Star Conference game to the Knights.
Skyview defeated Kenny Lake in a nonconference game Thursday.
In Friday’s game, Scott Ralston tied the game at one in the first period. With the Panthers on a penalty kill, Ralston drove the puck from deep in his own zone. The puck was mishandled by the Colony goaltender Tyrel Henkel, and slipped between his legs for a score.
However, Henkel easily turned aside everything else the Panthers had to offer, and Skyview broke down in the second and third periods.
“We played a good first period, but then we just kinda fell apart. We had a lot of penalties, and we never recovered from that,” said Skyview coach Paddy Iverson.
Ryan Pauling had two goals and five assists for the Knights while Blake Huppert netted one goal and five assists.
Gabe O’Lena made 51 saves for the Panthers.
KARDINALS 3, COUGARS 2
Service 1 0 1 2
Kenai 0 0 3 3
First period 1. Service, Bivins (Huston), 11:17. Penalties Service 1 for 2:00.
Second period none. Penalties Service 1 for 2, Kenai 4 for 8:00.
Third period 2. Kenai, McGlasson (unassisted); 2:16; 3. Kenai, Coleman (Barrett, Johnson), 3:09; 4. Kenai, McGlasson (Fusaro), 6:18; 5. Service, Thomas (Gray, Palmer). Penalties Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Shots Service 12-14-1541, Kenai 9-8-926.
Goalies Service, Sires (26 shots, 23 saves); Kenai, Boycott (41 shots, 39 saves).
WARRIORS 5, STARS 1
Wasilla 3 0 2 5
Soldotna 0 1 0 1
First period 1. Wasilla, Thomas (Zehnder, Dutcher), 5:50 (pp); 2. Wasilla, Sandone (Dutcher), 9:24 (sh); 3. Wasilla, Palin (Zehnder, Ingalls), 11:34. Penalties Wasilla 4 for 8:00, Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
Second period 4. Soldotna, Glick (unassisted), 11:29. Penalties Wasilla 4 for 16:00, Soldotna 3 for 6:00.
Third period 5. Wasilla, Barkley (Gittlein, Troisi),6:41 (pp); 6. Wasilla, Kenworthy (Dutcher), 9:19. Penalties Wasilla 3 for 6:00, Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
KNIGHTS 7, PANTHERS 1
Colony 2 2 3 7
Skyview 1 0 0 1
First period 1. Colony, Pauling (B. Huppert), 5:33; 2. Skyview, Ralston (unassisted), 12:51 (sh); 3. Colony, Breck (B. Huppert, Pauling), 14:24 (pp). Penalties Colony 1 for 2:00, Skyview 4 for 8:00.
Second period 4. Colony, Manelick (Pauling, B. Huppert), 0:30; 5. Colony, Pauling (Lund, B. Huppert), 5:06. Penalties Colony 2 for 4:00, Skyview 4 for 8:00.
Third period 6. Colony, Manelick (Pauling), 2:27; 7. Colony, B. Huppert (Pauling, Manelick), 7:31; 8. Colony, Lund (Pauling, Huppert), 14:21 (pp). Penalties Colony 1 for 2:00, Skyview 1 for 2:00.
Shots Colony 12-23-2358, Skyview 9-7-723.
Goalies Colony, Henkel (23 shots, 22 saves); Skyview, O’Lena (58 shots, 51 saves).
PANTHERS 9, HAWKS 5
Kenny Lake 0 1 4 5
Skyview 3 2 4 9
First period 1. Skyview, Cho (Walgenbach), 4:10; 2. Skyview, Magone (Cho, Walgenbach), 9:05; 3. Skyview, Kel. Maxwell (Iverson), 14:59. Penalties Kenny Lake 1 for 2:00, Skyview 2 for 4:00.
Second period 4. Skyview, Walgenbach (Ralston), 0:54; 5. Skyview, Ralston (Sturm, Walgenbach), 7:22; 6. Kenny Lake, Ken. Maxwell (I. Carlson, Helkenn), 9:36. Penalties Kenny Lake 1 for 2:00, Skyview 3 for 6:00.
Third period 7. Skyview, Magone (Cho, Iverson), 2:23; 8. Kenny Lake, Ken. Maxwell (I. Carlson), 3:02; 9. Kenny Lake, Ken. Maxwell (Knutson, I. Carlson), 6:21; 10. Skyview, Flanders (Doremire, Cho), 7:38; 11. Kenny Lake, Betts (I. Carlson, Ken. Maxwell), 10:51; 12. Skyview, Walgenbach (Ralston, Iverson), 11:22; 13. Kenny Lake, Helkenn (Jones, Van Wyhe), 12:41; 14. Skyview, Magone (Iverson), 14:12. Penalties none.
Shots Kenny Lake 7-13-1535, Skyview 16-9-1944.
Goalies Kenny Lake, Barnes (25 shots, 20 saves), Lambert (19 shots, 15 saves); Skyview, O’Lena (35 shots, 31 saves).
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