While the squad of All-Stars from Nikiski, Kenai, Soldotna and Skyview High Schools acquitted themselves with class, the Peninsula Chinooks Junior B hockey team showed just how big a step it is between prep and junior hockey with an 8-3 win Thursday.
The game, played to benefit Jim Wenstrom, also known as Crazy Jim Murdoch, the voice of the Chinooks, drew a full house to the Soldotna Sports Center Thursday.
Fans were treated to a figure skating performance from Skatique, and then were entertained as both teams played end-to-end hockey.
The Chinooks opened the scoring just 55 seconds into the game. Peninsula's Tim Flanders took a shot from the slot off a pass from Rob Batchelor on Soldotna's Kelly Gee.
A defenseman slowed the puck down before it got to the net, and Gee appeared to have the shot smothered between his pads, but it trickled out behind him and into the net.
Dustin Curley made it 2-0 1:30 later, slamming a loose puck past Gee after the netminder stopped Joel Batchelor's initial shot.
The All-Stars had another unlucky rebound when Gee made a skate save on a shot by Michael Michelsohn, but the puck bounced for Flanders, who was crashing the net and looking for the loose puck. The former Skyview skater put the puck home at 11:22 of the first period.
Current Skyview skater Wayne Maxwell put the All-Stars on the board with 3:53 left in the period. Soldotna's Elliott Neese found Kenai's Brian Gabriel Jr., who fired a shot. The puck was deflected, and while Chinooks goaltender Kenny Bishop corralled the bouncing puck, Maxwell was sitting on the doorstep and ready to pounce.
The All-Stars squad opened up the second period with some good scoring bids but Flanders scored his third goal of the night 5:54 into the period, assisted by Steve Shaughnessy and Michelsohn to give the Chinooks a 4-1 edge.
The All-Stars responded with a tally of their own at 8:34 of the second period, when Soldotna's Eric Newby beat Bishop, assisted by Peter Kim.
Chinooks coach Paddy Flynn swapped his goaltenders midway through the second period, giving Daren Tracey the last half of the game to handle.
Tracey was tested by an All-Stars rush immediately after entering the game, but he turned aside the bid and Mike McIntosh sent the Chinooks to the locker room for the second intermission with a 5-2 lead, beating Wirz with a shot from the slot through a screen of players with 4:07 left in the period. Jamie Prior and Bjorn Swan assisted on the play.
The Chinooks added a short-handed goal 2:21 into the third period. The Peninsula penalty kill unit cleared the puck from their zone, and Kelsey Knudson beat everyone else down the ice to collect it in front of Skyview netminder Mike Bell for an uncontested shot. Jesse Ferguson was credited with an assist on the play.
Bell held his own through the rest of the period, and the All-Stars lit the lamp with 8:49 left in the period when Neese scored on assists from Kim and Maxwell.
The Chinooks added two more goals late in the game.
Former Kenai Kardinal Dustin Every collected the puck after Curley had been knocked off of it at the All-Stars blue line. Every found a gap in the defense and beat Bell with 5:51 to go.
Prior netted the final goal of the game, scoring with 4:36 left in the contest on a play set up by a pass from Aaron Swanson.
Bell, a sophomore at Skyview, continued to impress, making several sprawling saves throughout the third period.
CHINOOKS 8, ALL-STARS 3
Peninsula 3 2 2 --8
All-Stars 1 1 1 --3
First period -- 1. Peninsula, Flanders (R. Batchelor), :55; 2. Peninsula, Curley (J. Batchelor), 2:25; 3. Peninsula, Flanders (Michelsohn), 11:22; 4. All-Stars, Maxwell (Gabriel Jr., Neese), 16:07. Penalties -- Peninsula 1 for 2:00.
Second period -- 5. Peninsula, Flanders (S. Shaughnessy, Michelsohn), 5:54; 6. All-Stars, E. Newby (Kim), 8:34; 7. Peninsula, McIntosh (Prior, Swan), 15:53. Penalties -- Peninsula 3 for 6:00, All-Stars 2 for 4:00.
Third period -- 8. Peninsula, Knudson (Ferguson), 2:21 SHG; 9. All-Stars, Neese, (Kim, Maxwell), 11:11; 9. Peninsula, Every (Curley), 14:09; 10. Peninsula, Prior (A. Swanson), 15:14. Penalties -- Peninsula 3 for 6:00.
Power play opportunities -- Peninsula 0 for 0, All-Stars 0 for 3.
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