The Skyview High School hockey team fell short in its bid to extend its season for one more day as the Panthers dropped their Region III/4A Championship tournament opener 4-1 to the Wasilla Warriors Thursday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
In Thursday's other opening round games, the Soldotna Stars defeated the Homer Mariners 12-0 and the Kenai Central Kardinals bagged the Palmer Moose 8-1, setting up a Soldotna-Kenai semifinal today at 6:30 p.m.
Wasilla plays top-seeded Colony in today's other semifinal, with the puck scheduled to drop at 3:15 p.m.
Semifinal winners will meet for the tournament championship Saturday at 6:45 p.m.
"Sometimes the coin just doesn't flip your way," said Skyview's Randy Berg after the Panthers loss. "A lot of things in hockey are just a roll of the dice."
Wasilla had a 2-1 lead after the first period, but the Panthers were able to create several golden scoring opportunities in the opening minutes of the second half.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, they weren't able to convert any of those opportunities into points on the scoreboard.
"They got us fired up, and after that, we had a couple more chances," Skyview's Brandon Sachwitz said of the Panthers' second-period flurry. "They took that time-out, and that always takes some of the steam out of you, and you've got to get fired up again."
"We missed a couple of opportunities that could've changed the outlook of the game for us, and we never caught up after that," Skyview coach Pete Iverson said.
Wasilla's Jamie Roberts put the Warriors on the board 2:54 into the first period, burying a pass from John Schmelz.
Skyview equalized with a power-play goal 1:57 later. Gabe Fellman won a faceoff in the Wasilla zone, walked in on goal and put his shot over Wasilla goalie Nathan Banbury's left shoulder.
Roberts scored with 5:38 left in the first period to regain the lead for the Warriors, and the Panthers were unable to slip anything else past Banbury.
Roberts set up Chris Kohler for a power-play goal with 1:04 left in the second period, then completed his hat trick with an empty net goal at 14:46 of the third period.
While the Panthers were outshot 41-14, Skyview did manage to limit Wasilla's chances in front of net with a box-and-one defensive scheme.
"You keep your center in the center, and keep everything to the outside so that the goalie doesn't have to take any shots from the middle," Berg said. "I think it worked pretty well. It just wasn't our game."
Skyview goalie Kyle Kay posted 37 saves on 40 shots, a point .925 save percentage.
"Kyle Kay had an excellent game. He's been rock-solid," Iverson said.
Soldotna 12, Homer 0
The Stars opened the tournament with a win over the Mariners to advance to today's semifinals.
Eric Newby paced the Stars attack with three goals and an assist while Peter Kim scored a pair of goals and notched two assists. Dan Jensen scored two goals for the Stars.
David Newby, Nels Hansen, Billy Smith, Johnny Mills and Keith Herring also tallied for the Stars.
Kenny Bishop made three saves for the shutout.
Garrett Myers made 44 saves in net for the Mariners.
Kenai 8, Palmer 1
Phillip Ischi netted a hat trick for the Kardinals, scoring an even-strength goal, a power-play goal and a short-handed goal in Kenai's victory.
"Adrian (Borchgrevink) and Owen (Brewer) look for the open guy in front," Ischi said, referring to his linemates who set up his first two goals.
Ischi netted the first goal of the game, and after a Palmer tally by Sam Roy, Zach Hicks scored to give the Kardinals a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.
Ischi completed his hat trick with a short-handed goal in the second period, taking a long clearing pass from Brian Gabriel Jr., crossing the blue line and firing a slap shot five-hole on the Palmer goalie.
Borchgrevink and Garrett Bossert added third-period goals for the Kardinals, as did a pair of Kenai defensemen, Jimmie Gabriel and Cory Janson.
"I like when (our defensemen) score. They're always waiting for the puck, and when they get a goal, it's almost better than a hat trick," Ischi said.
In fact, giving the blue liners some more touches on the puck opened things up for the Kenai forwards against Palmer's defense.
"We haven't been using our points enough," Kenai coach Brian Gabriel Sr. said. "If you never use your points, everything collapses down on you. If you use your points, that opens the ice up -- and they can score, too."
"We're just looking for the screen, and seeing if we can catch the goalie off guard" when we get the puck, Jimmie Gabriel said. "If there's a guy diving for the puck, you have to play it back to the corner. You have to be smart about it."
Brandon Fortney made 10 saves through two periods in the Kenai goal. Ryan Dukowitz relieved him in the third period, but did not face a Palmer shot.
STARS 12, MARINERS 0
Homer 0 0 0 -- 0
Soldotna 6 3 3 -- 12
First period -- 1. Soldotna, D. Newby (E. Newby), 1:34; 2. Soldotna, Jensen (Herring, Kim), 3:29; 3. Soldotna, E. Newby (Smith, Hansen), 5:35; 4. Soldotna, Hansen (D. Newby), 6:08; 5. Soldotna, Jensen (Kim), 8:01 (sh); 6. Soldotna, Smith (unassisted), 9:16. Penalties -- Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
Second period -- 7. Soldotna, Kim (Smith), 3:10; 8. Soldotna, Kim (unassisted), 12:44; 9. Soldotna, Mills (Vasilie) 13:59. Penalties -- none.
Third period -- 10. Soldotna, Herring (unassisted), 3:19 (pp); 11. Soldotna, E. Newby (Smith), 6:18; 12. Soldotna, E. Newby (Potton, Mills), 13:25. Penalties -- Homer 2 for 4:00.
Shots -- Homer 0-2-1--3, Soldotna, 16-23-17--56.
Goalies -- Homer, Myers (56 shots, 44 saves); Soldotna, Bishop (3 shots, 3 saves).
WARRIORS 4, PANTHERS 1
Skyview 1 0 0 -- 1
Wasilla 2 1 1 -- 4
First period -- 1. Wasilla, Roberts (Schmelz), 2:54; 2. Skyview, G. Fellman (unassisted), 4:51 (pp); 3. Wasilla, Roberts (unassisted), 9:22. Penalties -- Wasilla 1 for 2:00.
Second period -- 4. Wasilla, Kohler (Colegrove), 13:56. Penalties -- Wasilla 2 for 4:00, Skyview 4 for 8:00.
Third period -- 5. Wasilla, Roberts (Parker), 14:46 (sh, en). Penalties -- Wasilla 4 for 8:00.
Shots -- Wasilla 19-14-8--41, Skyview 4-4-6--14.
Goalies -- Wasilla, N. Banbury (14 shots, 13 saves); Skyview, Kay (40 shots, 37 saves).
KARDINALS 8, MOOSE 1
Palmer 1 0 0 -- 1
Kenai 3 1 4 -- 8
First period -- 1. Kenai, Ischi (Borchgrevink, Brewer), 0:09; 2. Kenai, Ischi (Borchgrevink), 2:22 (pp); 3. Palmer, Roy (Stewart), 4:46; 4. Kenai, Z. Hicks (unassisted), 6:55. Penalties -- Palmer 2 for 4:00, Kenai 2 for 4:00.
Second period -- 5. Kenai, Ischi (B. Gabriel Jr.), 4:37 (sh). Penalties -- Palmer 3 for 6:00.
Third period -- 6. Kenai, Borchgrevink (J. Gabriel), 5:25; 7. Kenai, J. Gabriel (Henson), 5:55; 8. Kenai, Bossert (Forrest), 9:30; 9. Kenai, Janson (Henson), 11:18. Penalties -- Palmer 4 for 8:00, Kenai 4 for 8:00.
Shots -- Palmer 4-6-0--10, Kenai 18-19-16--53.
Goalies -- Palmer, Jett (18 shots, 15 saves), Galvin (25 shots, 22 saves), Peterson (10 shots, 8 saves); Kenai, Fortney (10 shots, 9 saves), Dukowitz (0 shots, 0 saves).
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