Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2004

KPHA Squirt B takes third at state

The Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association Squirt B team finished third at the state tournament March 14 in Anchorage.

The Ice Hawks advanced out of pool play with a 3-1 record, but were defeated by the Anchorage All-Stars 5-0 in the semifinals. Goalie William Granger had 25 saves in the loss.

In pool play, the Ice Hawks beat the Fairbanks Arctic Lions 5-0, lost to the Fairbanks Knights 4-0, beat the Anchorage North Stars 7-3 and beat the Anchorage Bulldogs 1-0.

Against the Arctic Lions, Matt Boulette had two goals, with two assists coming from Sean Endsley and one coming from Zack Sonnichsen. Also scoring in the game were Michael Gabriel unassisted, Sonnichsen assisted by Boulette and Endsley and Hali Carter assisted by Zack Zulkanycz and Tyler Cue. Granger had five saves.

Against the Knights, the Ice Hawks put 21 shots on goal but were not able to score. Endsley had 16 saves.

Against the North Stars, Endsley and Boulette had two goals. Boulette's were assisted by Endsley and unassisted, while Endsley's were assisted by Boulette and Sonnichsen and unassisted. Other goals came from Morgan Cunningham assisted by Sonnichsen, Josh Kerkvliet and Zulkanycz assisted by Cue. Granger made nine saves.

Against the Bulldogs, Endsley scored on assists by Jacob Iverson and Boulette, and Granger made 18 saves.

Whalers continue success

The Soldotna Whalers freestyle wrestling club continued to find success in a pair of tournament over the past two weeks.

In mid-March, the Whalers attended the Seward Marathon Tournament, with 28 of 36 wrestlers placing. The Whalers took first place at the tournament.

Taking first place for the Whalers were Dalton Best, Jesse Littrell, Jared Chavez, Taylor Hanley, Zac Aberkane, Hugh Warner, Zach Hibberd, Eddie Buffington, Jacob Torwick, Brandy Goracke and Colten Goracke.

Taking second place for the Whalers were Austin Painter, Tyler Frates, Troy Streiff, Dylan Sterling, Brandon Jones, Ryan Hanley, Derrick Burlison, Stephen Burlison, Erick Morris, Brandon Robichaux and Jon Martin.

Taking third place for the Whalers were Trayton Bird, Khelbie Miller, Tanner Best, Josiah Martin, Ben Piatt and Mike Burlison.

This past weekend, the Whalers won the Soldotna's Tournament with 187 points. The Lions Club took second with 107 points, while Chugach was third with 89 points.

Taking first place for the Whalers were Best, Littrell, Seth Hutchison, Painter, Chavez, Taylor Hanley, Warner, Nathan Strieby, Ryan Hanley, Cody Booth, Tanner Waterbury, Clark Buffington, Torwick, Brandy Goracke, Colten Goracke and Sarge Truesdell.

Taking second place were Frates, Hannah Hutchison, Sterling, Aberkane, Jordan Goracke, Michaela Hutchison, Eddie Buffington, Neil Strausbaugh and Jeremy Hart.

Taking third place were Bird, Miller, Jacob Rahlfs, Brandon Jones, Logan Rahlfs, Tyler Taplin, Morris, Mathew Strieby and Robichaux.

The next tournament for the Whalers will be Saturday in Wasilla.

Hockey showcase comes to Soldotna

Mid Island Hockey Schools of Canada from Duncan, British Columbia, will be offering elite hockey players and goaltenders 15 and older an opportunity to showcase their skills and talent in Soldotna June 11 to 13.

The program will feature coaches from top programs around North America, such as the University of Maine, Brown, St. Cloud State, Quinnipiac, Wisconsin Superior, Wayne State and several teams from the Canadian Junior Leagues.

For more information about the showcase, contact MIHS through their Web site at or call toll free at 1-888-883-6184.

Kwan falls, Cohen soars at skating worlds

DORTMUND, Germany Michelle Kwan began her bid for a sixth world championship with a tumble and a regret.

''I wish I could do it over again,'' she said Wednesday. ''Just say it wasn't a good performance for me.''

Kwan fell once and made two major mistakes to finish third in her qualifying group. Sasha Cohen, the perennial runner-up to Kwan in the United States, won the other group with a revamped version of her ''Swan Lake'' program.

''It's a shame,'' Kwan said. ''If it was (in practice) and it didn't count, that would be fine. Unfortunately, it does count.''

Later Wednesday, Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin won the pairs title, the 32nd for Russia or the Soviet Union since 1965.

China's Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, two-time world champions, finished second despite winning the free program with 12 perfect scores. They were fourth in the short program Monday, which weighed down their final ranking. The Russians earned one 6.0 Wednesday.

Heading into the women's short program Friday, Kwan an eight-time U.S. champion trails two Japanese skaters, Shizuka Arakawa and world junior champion Miki Ando.

''I have to work a lot in the next day or two just to get myself going and make the work that I've done in practice feel like what I do in competition,'' she said. ''I have to wake up!''

Kwan first suspected trouble when she singled her attempt at an opening triple loop.

''I was kind of stiff,'' she said. ''I got into it in the middle, but by that time it was too late.''

Her marks were uncharacteristically low. On a scale of 6.0, she was awarded between 4.9 and 5.6 for technical merit and between 5.6 and 5.9 only one 5.9 for artistic presentation.

She said it is hard to skate well in the qualifying round.

''It's hard doing a long, short, long (program), mentally, because you are used doing short and long,'' Kwan said. Just as at the U.S. championships, where she received seven perfect 6.0s for her ''Tosca'' free program.

Although the salmon-colored dress and music were the same from Atlanta two months ago, the skating wasn't. She tumbled on her final jump, a triple lutz.

''I just have to analyze what happened today,'' she said.

Arakawa completed six triples, while Ando even attempted a quadruple jump, which would have been a first at the world championships. She fell on it but had enough triples to just edge Kwan for second place, including a difficult triple lutz-triple loop.

Irina Slutskaya, the former world champion making a return, was fifth, looking like a skater who had gone more than a year without competition. She fell once and had trouble on nearly every triple jump.

''The program wasn't excellent, but I'm on my way back to the top,'' Slutskaya said. ''I have not yet totally recovered from health problems.''

Hospitalized several times, Slutskaya was diagnosed with an inflamed sac around her heart. The previous time she competed was in February 2003, when Cohen beat her in the Grand Prix Final.

Things also have changed for Cohen since going to new coach Robin Wagner, who coached Olympic champion Sarah Hughes. They have changed her program, leaving practically only the music the same.

Cohen said she felt a lot of power at the start.

''We wanted to start the program to get everyone's attention and to show I'm here, and it really gets me motivated, really started,'' Cohen said.

Cohen displayed her trademark flexibility with spirals that are the best in skating. She nailed six triples and finished ahead of Elena Sokolova of Russia, who did seven triples but showed uninspired artistry. Sokolova was runner-up to Kwan at last year's worlds, with Cohen fourth.

As well as Cohen performed Wednesday, she thinks she can do better.

''I skated a lot more aggressively this year than I did last year. Lots of little things make a difference,'' she said.

She gets her chance in Friday's short program. At the U.S. nationals two months ago, she beat Kwan in the short program.

''I had a couple months after that to work with Robin to get a really solid base,'' Cohen said. ''I know I'm prepared. I am learning to get more out of myself.''

Totmianina and Marinin won the pairs crown with a charming and light routine without a major mistake. They were runners-up the last two years to Shen and Zhao.

Shen and Zhao's routine to the ''Nutcracker'' was superb throughout. However, in the interim scoring system in use in this competition, no one knows how many of their collection of 6.0s really counted.

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