Soldotna goalie Micah Perletti makes a stop in the second period against East Anchorage Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The Soldotna High School hockey team just plain outworked the visiting East High Thunderbirds Friday night, posting a 6-4 nonconference victory at the Soldotna Sports Center.
"We got right on top of their defensemen quick and forced turnovers in their zone," said Soldotna coach Aaron Swanson. "That's where a lot of our goals came from."
In fact, Soldotna's forward line of Matt Vasilie, Clayton Glick and Brian Herring accounted for five goals, and most of those came because the trio refused to give up on the puck in the East zone.
"Earlier this week, we made a couple of line changes, putting bodies in different places," Vasilie said. "That helped us take the body and knock men off the puck, which created some odd-man rushes for us.
"We're kind of a weaker team and we tend to play defensive and run a trap. Tonight, taking the body allowed us to have a lot of offensive pressure."
East netted the first goal of the game just 2:45 into the first period, but Willie Boyles potted the equalizer after springing free on a breakaway at 8:37 of the period. Brennan Best assisted on the play.
Vasilie gave the Stars their first lead of the game 42 seconds later, pouncing on a loose puck in front of the East goal as his linemates forced an errant pass with their checking.
Vasilie reciprocated with 1:08 left before the first intermission, knocking the puck free along the end boards and finding Brian Herring all alone in front of the goal. Herring tapped the puck home for a 3-1 Stars lead.
East came storming back with three goals in the first half of the second period, though, forcing the Stars to call a timeout and regroup. Soldotna switched goalies, inserting Micah Perletti for Kyle Kay, and shut the Thunderbirds down the rest of the way.
Soldotna's Matt Vasilie shoots in front of East Anchorage's Jeff Horel in the third period Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
The Stars evened the game with 2:17 left in the second period when Herring was able to get his stick on a puck bouncing across the East crease, assisted by Glick and Vasilie. Glick added what proved to be the game-winner two minutes later, set up by Herring and Vasilie.
Glick netted the final goal of the night in the middle of the third period as the Stars once again outworked the Thunderbirds in the East zone, with Vasilie getting credit for the assist.
"We were winning the races a lot," said Glick. "We were taking the body, getting shots and rebounds and scoring. We just kept on going and didn't quit."
The victory should give the Stars some momentum as they head into the season homestretch. The conference tournament begins Feb. 3 in Palmer.
"It should help us a little bit getting ready for other big games coming up. We've just got to make sure we go hard every game," said Glick.
Stars 6, Thunderbirds 4
East 1 3 0 4
Soldotna 3 2 1 6
First period 1. East, Akers (Wilson), 2:45; 2. Soldotna, Boyles (Best), 8:37; 3. Soldotna, Vasilie (unassisted), 9:19; 4. Soldotna, Herring (Vasilie), 12:52. Penalties East 1 for 2:00, Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
Second period 5. East, Kneaper (Ellis), 1:14; 6. East, Davis (Dalton, Peters), 5:40 pp; 7. East, Peters (Wilkes), 7:53; 8. Soldotna, Herring (Glick, Vasilie), 12:43; 9. Soldotna, Glick (Herring, Vasilie), 14:43. Penalties East 1 for 2:00, Soldotna 3 for 6:00.
Third period 10. Soldotna, Glick (Vasilie), 7:14. Penalties East 2 for 7:00, Soldotna, 2 for 7:00.
Shots East 9-15-731, Soldotna 10-9-928.
Goalies East, Wise, Rhodes (28 shots, 22 saves); Soldotna, Kay, Perletti (31 shots, 27 saves).
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