It may be just the beginning of November, but Kenai Central hockey coach Brian Gabriel Sr. is already starting to feel as if it's after Christmas.
"We're a month and a half ahead of where we were at this time last year," Gabriel Sr. said after his Kardinals completed their first weekend of play by downing Skyview 9-4 Saturday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Owen Brewer, Hunter Sirois and Adrian Borchgrevink all picked up three points on the evening for the Kardinals, while Boone Hall had two goals. Brewer and Sirois each had a goal and two assists, while Borchgrevink had three assists.
For Skyview, Taylor Adam and Jake Satathite each had a goal and an assist.
Kenai had started the weekend off by losing to Soldotna Friday, but Gabriel Sr. said overall he was happy with his team's performance.
"I was pretty happy with the whole weekend," Gabriel Sr. said. "Soldotna, along with Colony, is going to be the team to beat in Region III and we played them tough.
"(Saturday), we played another good game. We outshot them 40-11."
Although the Kardinals peppered Panthers goalie Brandon Dockery with rubber all evening, they weren't able to put the game away until the fourth period. Kenai broke open a 5-4 game by scoring the last four goals of the game.
Gabriel Sr. said one luxury he will have this year is three solid lines. Saturday against Skyview, he was able to play four lines. The Kardinals got points from nine different people.
"One thing I can say about this team, that hasn't been the case so much in the past, is that as a team they are a lot tougher," Gabriel Sr. said. "In the past, when teams would get physical with them, they would kind of back down.
"Soldotna came out physical, and so did Skyview, and these guys were right with them."
While Kenai's forwards were doing a good job pressuring Dockery, Gabriel Sr. said the defensemen adequately protected Kardinals' inexperienced goalie Ryan Whiteley. Gabriel Sr. lauded Jack Darsey, Brian Gabriel Jr., Billy Johnson and Cory Janson for nice jobs on defense.
Both Skyview and Kenai are now 1-1 overall. Kenai will play North Pole Thursday in the first round of the Peninsula Ice Classic at the sports center at 7:30 p.m., while Skyview will host Monroe Saturday at the sports center at 3 p.m.
KENAI 9, SKYVIEW 4
Skyview 1 2 1 -- 4
Kenai 2 2 5 -- 9
First period -- 1. Kenai, Owen Brewer (Adrian Borchgrevink), 6:10; 2. Kenai, Billy Johnson (Hunter Sirois), 9:09; 3. Skyview, John Fiermening (Daryl Sachwitz, Randy Berg), 14:44. Penalties -- Skyview 2 for 7:00; Kenai 0 for 0:00.
Second period -- 4. Skyview, Jake Satathite (Jesse Waltemyer, Mike Woodward), 6:49; 5. Kenai, Hunter Sirois (Brian Gabriel Jr.), 11:07; 6. Kenai, Ross Baldwin (Kevin Oberg, Owen Brewer), 12:24; 7. Skyview, Chad Moore (Taylor Adam), 14:12. Penalties -- Skyview 2 for 4:00; Kenai 6 for 22:00.
Third period -- 8. Kenai, Kevin Oberg (Adrian Borchgrevink), 0:54; 9. Skyview, Taylor Adam (Jake Satathite), 1:55; 10. Kenai, Boone Hall (un.), 2:54; 11. Kenai, Brian Gabriel Jr. (un.), 10:52; 12. Kenai, Mike Brown (Hunter Sirois), 12:23; 13. Boone Hall (Adrian Borchgrevink, Owen Brewer), 14:59. Penalties -- Skyview 3 for 16:00; Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal -- Skyview 2-4-5--11; Kenai 13-12-15--40.
Goalies -- Skyview, Brandon Dockery (40 shots-31 saves); Kenai, Ryan Whiteley (11 shots, 7 saves).
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