The Nikiski hockey team broke open a 3-3 game by scoring five unanswered goals in the third period to defeat Glennallen 8-3 Friday in Greatland Hockey Conference play at the Jason Peterson Memorial Ice Rink.
With the win, the Bulldogs move to 4-7 in the GLC and 7-13 overall. The record for wins for the Nikiski hockey program, which started in the 1988-89 school year, is eight.
Nikiski can tie and pass the record Friday and Saturday, when it hosts Tri Valley.
First-year coach Al Anderson, as well as several Nikiski players interviewed Friday, pointed to assistant coach Beynon Williams as a major reason for the near record in wins.
Williams used to play Junior Hockey in Canada and has used his knowledge to improve Nikiski's team.
"Beynon's been watching the team the past few years, and he had played juniors when he was of age, so he was able to tell us what we needed to do," said junior Louie Oliva, who scored his first varsity goal Friday. "He's worked a lot with us on passing and positioning."
Williams' work was apparent in the first two periods Friday, as the Bulldogs used pinpoint passing and solid positioning to keep the puck in Glennallen's zone.
However, thanks to fine work by Glennallen goalie Rowdy Allain, Nikiski had just a 3-2 lead after two periods despite outshooting the Panthers 27-8.
Then the Panthers cranked the emotion up a notch by tying the game about six minutes into the third period.
Nikiski responded with five goals in the next six minutes.
"We went out like a freight train at the start of the third period," Anderson said. "We've had extended two-hour practices, especially at the beginning of the year.
"That allows us to step up in the third period."
Zach Womack, who had a hat trick in Thursday's 5-3 loss to Skyview, had two of the five unanswered goals in the third period. Womack also had an assist Friday.
Womack had formed a highly successful line with Josh Winters and Billy Anderson until a few weeks ago, when Anderson went out with a shoulder injury.
After some tinkering, freshman Israel Blatchford was plugged into the line.
"The last two games have been a wakening for me," Womack said. "I had been in kind of a slump.
"Now, me, Josh Winters and Israel Blatchford are clicking together like none other."
Winters and Blatchford each had a goal and an assist Friday.
Others contributing to the offense were Lex Litzen with two goals, Nick Russell with two assists and Brett Allemann with a goal.
Anderson also lauded the continued improvement of Luke Hardesty in net. Hardesty made nine saves on 12 shots. Two of the goals came when defensive breakdowns led to breakaways.
BULLDOGS 8, PANTHERS 3
Glennallen 0 2 1 --3
Skyview 1 2 5 --8
First period -- 1. Nikiski, Winters (Womack), 8:49. Penalties -- Glennallen 0 for 0:00; Nikiski 0 for 0:00.
Second period -- 2. Nikiski, Litzen (un.), 4:59; 3. Glennallen, Hoelskoetter (un.), 8:00; 4. Nikiski, Litzen (Russell), 12:42; 5. Glennallen, Hoelskoetter (un.), 14:20. Penalties -- Glennallen 3 for 6:00; Nikiski 2 for 4:00.
Third period -- 6. Glennallen, Rice (Nelson), 5:53; 7. Nikiski, Blatchford (Russell), 6:41; 8. Nikiski, Womack (un.), 7:00; 9. Nikiski, Allemann (un.), 8:58; 10. Nikiski, Womack (Blatchford, Winters), 9:24; 11. Nikiski, Oliva (un.), 12:32. Penalties -- Glennallen 2 for 12:00; Nikiski 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal -- Glennallen 5-3-4--12; Nikiski 13-14-12--39.
Goalies -- Glennallen, Allain (39 shots, 31 saves); Nikiski, Hardesty (12 shots, 9 saves).
PANTHERS 5, BULLDOGS 3
Skyview 1 2 2 --5
Nikiski 1 1 1 --3
First period -- 1. Nikiski, Womack (Winters), 2:42; 2. Skyview, Carver (un.), 4:51. Penalties -- Skyview 0 for 0:00; Nikiski 1 for 2:00.
Second period -- 3. Nikiski, Womack (Allemann), 10:40; 4. Skyview, G. Fellman (J. Christianson, D. Christianson), 13:08; 5. Skyview, G. Fellman (J. Christianson, D. Christianson), 14:49. Penalties -- Skyview 2 for 4:00; Nikiski 3 for 6:00.
Third period -- 6. Skyview, Iverson (un.), 3:16; 7. Nikiski, Womack (Winters, Allemann), 3:48; 8. Skyview, Kempf (un.), 4:00. Penalties -- Skyview 5 for 18:00; Nikiski 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal -- Skyview 16-10-6--32; Nikiski 6-10-11--27.
Goalies -- Skyview, Kay (27 shots, 24 saves); Nikiski, Hardesty (32 shots, 27 saves).
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