WASILLA -- Kenai's postseason dream came to an abrupt end early Friday morning, as the Kardinals became the first team out of the Class 4A state hockey tournament thanks to an 8-0 mauling by the South Anchorage Wolverines in the 8 a.m. consolation round opener at the Menard Memorial Ice Arena in Wasilla.
"We had moments of greatness," said Kenai coach Pete Iverson. "Just not enough."
South got three goals from junior forward Zach Aregood and two from junior Jake Onstott, whose move from defense to replace injured forward Kyle Simmons - the team's leading scorer - proved to be a blessing in disguise.
Iverson said the lopsided loss doesn't take away from Kenai's accomplishments this season, which include a conference sweep of rival Soldotna, a second-place showing at the North Star Conference tournament and the team's sixth trip to the state tourney.
"I'm really happy with our season," Iverson said. "This was a great experience for them."
South sophomore defenseman Alex Carle provided the goal judge with an early wake-up call when his slap shot from the blue line deflected off a Kenai stick and popped over Kardinals goalie Keegan Remsen on the Wolverines' first shot of the morning.
"South was ready to play this morning," Iverson said.
The Wolverines outshot Kenai 48-13. Remsen had his second busy day in a row, stopping 40 shots to finish with a two-game total of 84.
Aregood made it 2-0 late in the first when he finished off a cross-ice pass from Kris Smith with the Wolverines on a breakout.
The Smith-to-Aregood combo was good again early in the second, with Aregood this time finishing off a feed from behind the net to make it 3-0.
Aregood capped his natural hat trick by ripping a slap shot past Remsen from point-blank range off Carle's diagonal feed from the point to conclude a power-play lesson by the Wolverines.
South began to pile on in the third, getting a pair of goals from Onstott, a put-back by Smith and a blue-line slap shot from Ian Nicol to cap the scoring.
Onstott called the team's 5:50 a.m. wake-up call "terrible," and admitted he's not normally one to rise at the crack of dawn.
"But maybe I should start," he joked.
South goalie Ryan Lund wasn't tested often, but he did earn his shutout. The sophomore stopped 13 Kenai shots, including a dangerous point-blank effort from senior Truckee LeMay late in the third that proved to be Kenai's final scoring chance of the season.
Kenai had little chance against the Wolverines, a top-flight team who saw its championship hopes dashed in a 1-0 loss to Lathrop on Thursday.
"We wanted to prove a point," Onstott said.
Making things even more difficult for the Kardinals was the fact that the team dressed just 12 players -- ten skaters and two goalies -- after a pair of players fell ill before the game and were scratched from the lineup. Things got worse when senior forward Justin Herrmann went down with an injury and missed the third period.
"It was just kind of on, off, on, off," Kenai senior defenseman Brady Perkins said of playing with such a short bench. "It's hard to catch your breath."
Perkins said he didn't mind getting so much ice time, but could have used a couple more breathers.
"It's a blast, but it is tough," he said.
Perkins said losing twice to end the season won't tarnish his memories of a successful season.
"I'm gonna miss it a lot," he said. "It's been a blast playing with these kids."
WOLVERINES 8, KARDINALS 0
Kenai 0 0 0 --0
South 2 2 4 --8
First period -- 1. South, Carle (Redmond, Simmons), 1:11; 2. South, Aregood (Smith), 12:06. Penalties - Kenai 2 for 4, South 2 for 4.
Second period -- 3. South, Aregood (Smith, Carle), 2:05; 4. South, Aregood (Carle, Onstott), pp, 13:14. Penalties - Kenai 1 for 2, South 1 for 2.
Third period -- 5. South, Onstott (Frazer), 2:33; 6. South, Onstott (Frazer), 7:10; 7. South, Smith (Dibenedetto, Aregood), 13:39; 8. South, Nicol (Aregood), 14:11.
Shots -- Kenai 7-2-4--13, South 9-18-21--48.
Saves -- Kenai, Remsen (7-16-17--40), South, Lund (7-2-4--13).
Total penalties -- Kenai 4 for 8, South 5 for 10.
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