Literally, the lights went out on the Nikiski hockey team with 9 minutes, 55 seconds, left in the third period. Figuratively, Houston had turned out the lights on the Bulldogs long before that.
The league-leading Hawks cruised to a 13-1 Greatland Hockey Conference victory over Nikiski at the Jason Peterson Memorial Ice Rink Thursday.
About the only thing that interrupted the long string of rubber the Hawks threw at Nikiski goalie Nigel Penhale was the timer on the rink's lights expiring in the third period.
"They're the top team in the league," Nikiski coach Irv Smith said after his team fell to 2-8-1 in the GHC. "They whipped us pretty good.
"What are you going to say?"
Houston, which has a game today against Soldotna and Saturday against Kenai, is now 9-0 in conference.
As evidenced by the fact that the Hawks have scored 112 goals in league play and have been scored upon just 13 times, it's obvious that Nikiski hasn't been the only team to fail to contain Houston.
Houston, a Class 3A team which was second in small-schools state last year, owns victories over Class 4A schools Wasilla, Palmer and Skyview this season.
"We were clicking tonight," said Houston assistant Dudley Boehm, who, along with head coach Jamie Smith, has been coaching most of this group of players since they were 7 or 8 years old. "Some nights are just like that."
Three Hawks recorded hat tricks on the evening. Senior forward Bruce Vanbuskirk had three goals and four assists, while senior David Newman and senior Steven Newman had three goals apiece.
Houston also received a big point night from sophomore Jake Williams, who had a goal and six assists.
Things actually didn't start off too poorly for Nikiski. The Hawks scored about two minutes into the game, but Nikiski's Todd Brigham answered just over a minute later. Seth Tauriainen assisted on the goal.
It was the 10th goal of the year for Brigham, who leads the team in goals even though it's just his second year of hockey.
The score was 3-1 after the first, but in the second the Hawks started to pour it on with five goals. Things also got a bit chippy on the ice as Houston had 18 minutes in penalties in the second period while Nikiski had 30.
"We were disappointed by the way the play went tonight," Boehm said. "When one team starts to run away with the game, both teams need to keep their class, stay competitive and just play the game.
"Tonight both sides started flapping the gums a little bit. Hockey's a hitting game. Players should take out their aggression by hitting and not by flapping the gums."
HAWKS 13, BULLDOGS 1
Houston 3 5 5 -- 13
Nikiski 1 0 0 -- 1
First period -- 1. Houston, Jake Williams (Bruce Vanbuskirk, Lucas Vanbuskirk), 1:57; 2. Nikiski, Todd Brigham (Seth Tauriainen), 4:20; 3. Houston, Lucas Vanbuskirk), 7:33; 4. Houston, Steven Newman (Blake Fisher), 14:03. Penalties -- none.
Second period -- 5. Houston, Steven Newman (Blake Fisher, Matt Jacob), 2:10; 6. Houston, David Newman (Jake Williams, #14), 2:23; 7. Houston, Blake Fisher (Lucas Vanbuskirk, Jimmy Estes), 4:30; 8. Houston, David Newman (Jake Williams, Bruce Vanbuskirk), 7:14; 9. David Newman (Bruce Vanbuskirk, Brandon Boehm), 10:27. Penalties -- Houston 4 for 18:00; Nikiski 6 for 30:00.
Third period -- 10. Houston, Bruce Vanbuskirk (Jake Williams), 3:48; 11. Houston, Bo Stanberry (Bruce Vanbuskirk, Jake Williams), 4:19; 12. Houston, Bruce Vanbuskirk (Jake Williams, Bret Styers), 7:39; 13. Houston, Steven Newman (Blake Fisher), 8:17; 14. Houston, Bruce Vanbuskirk (Jake Williams, Bret Styers), 11:42. Penalties -- Houston 3 for 6:00; Nikiski 3 for 8:00.
Shots on goal -- Houston 15-19-14--48; Nikiski 7-4-5--16.
Goalies -- Houston, David Branholm (16 shots, 15 saves); Nikiski, Nigel Penhale (48 shots, 35 saves).
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