The Kenai Central High School hockey team did everything but put the puck in the net Friday, dropping a North Star Conference game 3-1 to the visiting Colony Knights at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Also Saturday, the Soldotna Stars messed up all the work the Palmer Moose had done cleaning the Sports Center glass last week, peppering the Palmer end of the rink with shots in a 15-0 NSC win.
"Kenai played fantastic. They totally outplayed us," said Colony coach Eric Troisi after Friday's game. "Our goalie kept us in the game."
In fact, the Kardinals struck just 31 seconds into the first period when Adrian Borchgrevink took a pass that split the Colony defensemen. Borchgrevink skated in on goalie Greg Strohmeyer and tucked his shot home.
Owen Brewer and Phillip Ischi were credited with the assists for the Kardinals.
Brewer led the Kardinals right back down the ice just seconds later for another good chance on net, but Strohmeyer proved up to the challenge, as he would the rest of the night.
"We had a lot of good opportunities, it just didn't go our way," said Kenai's Zack Hicks.
While Colony put 29 shots on goal to Kenai's 24, the Kardinals had countless shots that went just wide or just high of the net.
"I don't know what it is lately. We just can't seem to get a goal," said Kenai coach Brian Gabriel Sr. "Hopefully, maybe we're getting it out of our system now and by regions, we'll be putting more of those shots on net."
The Knights tied the game late in the second period. The Kardinals had finished a two-minute, two-man advantage during which they had put several good shots on net, but hadn't been able to put one past Strohmeyer.
With heavy action in front of the Colony goal, the Knights picked up another penalty as the Kardinals' two-man advantage expired.
Kenai's Kevin Oberg picked up a slashing penalty to even things up at four skaters a side, and Colony capitalized on the brief power play at the end of Oberg's penalty. Seth Reda scored the equalizer with 3:17 left in the period, and Joey Guild was credited with the go-ahead goal when his pass to the front of the Kenai net deflected off a skate and into the goal with 1:02 to go until the second intermission.
Colony's final goal came after Kenai pulled its goalie, Brandon Fortney, late in the third period looking for the equalizer. Borchgrevink did his best impression of Fortney, who had been stellar all night, but couldn't get a piece of Guild's shot.
Despite getting the win, Troisi said the Knights have been faltering down the stretch.
"We're not playing our best hockey at this point in the season," Troisi said. "If you look as teams like Soldotna and Kenai, they're moving in the right direction. We're not doing that."
The Kardinals weren't happy with the loss, but they were thrilled with their ability to skate with the Knights.
"We know we played good and everybody contributed," Hicks said. "We kinda had a bad weekend last week, but I think we've improved 10-fold. We're improving a lot, and Brandon Fortney helped us out a lot."
Gabriel Sr. said the secret this week was just a lot of hard work.
"After last weekend, we wondered what kind of effort we'd have," Gabriel Sr. said. "We had a hard week of practice. We didn't touch the pucks. We were just skating, trying to get that attitude back.
"I'm pretty happy. They're looking ahead, and they feel like they have a chance at regions. That's what we're after, that feeling that we can compete."
The Kardinals finish their regular season with conference games against Skyview, Soldotna and Homer Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Sports Center.
Soldotna 15, Palmer 0
Billy Smith scored three goals and assisted on three more as the Stars defeated Palmer in a North Star Conference game.
Nels Hansen, Derek Martin and Dustin Sena each scored twice while Johnny Mills, Hunter Sirois, David Newby, Eric Newby, Matt Vasilie and Keith Herring also tallied for the Stars.
"Everybody got to play, which was neat," said Soldotna coach Pat Nolden. "We ran four lines and three sets of defensemen. I think Mills played well, and Sena and Potton."
Nolden also liked the play from his third line, centered by Anthony Murray.
"Murray was real solid again. He's played a big role for us, shoring up that third line," Nolden said. "He's also valuable on power plays and penalty kills. He's a jack of all trades. Without him, we wouldn't have as many wins as we do."
Kenny Bishop stopped 11 shots to earn the shutout.
"We've been playing pretty good. Our goaltending has helped us out a lot," said Soldotna's Scott Laurion of the Stars' defense. "We've got fast forwards that are good back-checkers, and that makes out job a lot easier."
STARS 15, MOOSE 0
Palmer 0 0 0 -- 0
Soldotna 6 3 6 -- 15
First period -- 1. Soldotna, Smith (E. Newby, Herring), 1:48; 2. Soldotna, Mills (Kim, Johnson), 5:40; 3. Soldotna, Sirois (Smith, E. Newby), 8:17; 4. Soldotna, D. Newby (Hansen, Sena), 10:00; 5. Soldotna, Martin (Jensen, Kim), 12:31; 6. Soldotna, Sena (Mills, Murray), 14:29. Penalties -- Palmer 1 for 2:00, Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Second period -- 7. Soldotna, E. Newby (Reynolds, Smith), 4:00; 8. Soldotna, Martin (unassisted), 7:46; 9. Soldotna, Vasilie (Herring), 14:00. Penalties -- Palmer 2 for 4:00, Soldotna 3 for 6:00.
Third period -- 10. Soldotna, Hansen (Mills), 3:32 (pp); 11. Soldotna, Sena (Murray, Potton), 4:15; 12. Soldotna, Smith (E. Newby), 7:48 (sh); 13. Soldotna, Hansen (Sirois, Smith), 8:57; 14. Soldotna, Herring (Mills, Potton), 10:08 (pp); 15. Soldotna, Smith (Herring, E. Newby), 14:14. Penalties -- Palmer 2 for 4:00, Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Shots -- Palmer 3-4-4--11, Soldotna 16-10-16--42.
Goalies -- Palmer, Norton (42 shots, 27 saves); Soldotna, Bishop (11 shots, 11 saves).
KNIGHTS 3, KARDINALS 1
Colony 0 2 1 -- 3
Kenai 1 0 0 -- 1
First period -- 1. Kenai, Borchgrevink (Brewer. Ischi, 0:31). Penalties -- Colony 2 for 4:00, Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Second period -- 2. Colony, Reda (Guild, Acena), 11:43(pp); 3. Colony, Guild (unassisted), 13:58 (pp). Penalties -- Colony 6 for 12:00, Kenai 4 for 8:00.
Third period -- 4. Colony, Guild (Reda, Piatt), 14:09 (en). Penalties -- Colony 1 for 2:00, Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Shots -- Colony 7-12-10--29, Kenai 9-10-5--24.
Goalies -- Colony, Strohmeyer (24 shots, 23 saves); Kenai, Fortney (28 shots, 26 saves).
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