Kenai goalie Lauren Baldwin eyes a shot from Dimonds Tyler Currier in the second period Saturday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The Dimond hockey team went 3-0 to win the Horizon Lines Peninsula Ice Challenge Thursday through Saturday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
After topping Soldotna on Thursday and Kenai Central on Friday, the Lynx finished up with a 9-0 victory over Homer on Saturday.
Mickey Geraghty stopped 11 shots to post the shutout for the Lynx.
Eric Vilce, Nick Davis and Tyler Currier each had two goals for Dimond, while Vilce and Currier also had assists. William Rapuzzi also had a big night for Dimond with a goal and three assists.
Also for the Lynx, John Strahle and Keegan Brees had a goal and an assist and Matt Sutherland, Eric Holzschuh, Nick Halverson, Adam Rogers, Tyler Morgan and JJ Waldrop had assists.
Ben Miller had 38 saves for the Mariners.
The Lynx also dominated the hockey skills competition at the tournament, which was put together by the Kenai Firefighters Association and held Saturday. Dimond took five of the six top prizes awarded in the skills competition.
The lone event Dimond did not win went to Brian Herring of Soldotna, who won the speed-skating event with a time of 15.82 seconds. Jed McGlasson of Kenai was second and Vilce was third.
In the stick-handling event, Sutherland won with a time of 39.75 seconds, while Ben Christianson of Soldotna was second at 40.91 and McGlasson was third at 41.87. Currier won the hardest shooter competition by registering 81 mph, while Kevin Laurion of Soldotna and Grant Arend of Eagle River were next, each hitting 78 mph.
Rapuzzi was the shooting accuracy champion, while Herring was second and Brad Fusaro of Kenai was a close third.
The final event pitted skaters against goalies in a one-on-one shootout. Waldrop took the shooters showdown trophy after several tiebreakers, while Dimond's Nick Jackson took home the goalie showdown trophy.
Dimond also made a strong showing on the all-tournament team, with Rapuzzi taking MVP honors. Arne Krogh and Halverson were first-team defense, Rapuzzi and Currier were first-team forwards and Geraghty was first-team goalie. The only first-team player not from Dimond was Herring.
The Kardinals had most of the second team, with Kyle Coleman and Keegan Kiel getting second-team defense, Fusaro and McGlasson getting second-team offense and Lauren Baldwin getting second-team goalie. Josh Pitta of Homer also received second-team offense.
LYNX 9, MARINERS 0
Homer 0 0 0 0
Dimond 4 3 2 9
First period 1. Dimond, Vilce (Rapuzzi), 2:24; 2. Dimond, Davis (Rogers, Strahle), 4:35; 3. Dimond, Vilce (Currier), 7:53; 4. Dimond, Rapuzzi (Halverson), 10:33. Penalties Homer 4 for 8:00; Dimond 2 for 4:00.
Second period 5. Dimond, Strahle (Brees, Waldrop), 1:56; 6. Dimond, Davis (Brees), 9:49; 7. Dimond, Currier (Rapuzzi, Morgan), 12:45. Penalties Homer 5 for 10:00; Dimond 3 for 6:00.
Third period 8. Dimond, Brees (Sutherland), 7:39; 9. Dimond, Currier (Rapuzzi, Vilce), 8:55. Penalties Homer 4 for 8:00; Dimond 3 for 6:00.
Shots on goal Homer 7-0-411; Dimond 21-16-2057.
Goalies Homer, Miller (57 shots, 48 saves); Dimond, Geraghty (11 shots, 11 saves).
Kenai Central 6, Soldotna 3
The Kardinals grabbed a 3-0 lead after the first period and made it stand up Saturday at the Soldotna Sports Center as Kenai's Brad Fusaro came through with a hat trick.
Fusaro scored twice in the first period and James Barrett added another tally as Kenai jumped out to an early lead. Brian Herring scored for Soldotna in the second period to bring the Stars closer.
Soldotna then got to within one goal with 10:46 left in the game when Clayton Glick scored. However, Fusaro and Justin Gabriel scored, both on assists from Jed McGlasson, to give Kenai some breathing room. Soldotna's Kevin Laurion and McGlasson both added late goals.
Micah Perletti had 20 saves for Soldotna while Ben Boycott made 19 saves for the Kardinals.
KARDINALS 6, STARS 3
Soldotna 0 1 2 3
Kenai Central 3 0 3 6
First period 1. Kenai, Barrett (Kiel, Coleman), 3:13; 2. Kenai, Fusaro (Dukowitz, Coleman), 4:20; 3. Kenai, Fusaro (un.), 12:18. Penalties Soldotna 1 for 2:00; Kenai 2 for 7:00.
Second period 4. Soldotna, Herring (Waldrip), 4:55. Penalties Soldotna 2 for 4:00; Kenai 2 for 4:00.
Third period 5. Soldotna, Glick (Christianson), 4:14; 6. Kenai, Fusaro (McGlasson), 6:08; 7. Kenai, Gabriel (McGlasson), 5:14; 8. Soldotna, Laurion (Olsen), 12:13; 9. Kenai, McGlasson (un.), 13:32. Penalties Soldotna 2 for 4:00; Kenai 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal Soldotna 8-5-922; Kenai 6-6-1426.
Goalies Soldotna, Perletti (26 shots, 20 saves); Kenai, Boycott (22 shots, 19 saves).
Soldotna 7, Eagle River 1
Brian Herring scored all four of his goals in the third period as the Stars turned a 2-0 lead after the second period into a rout Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
"Our effort was not there tonight," Soldotna coach Aaron Swanson said. "We had some really sloppy play. We didn't play well, even though the scoreboard did not reflect that."
Eagle River is a first-year program. Eagle River coach Joe Quinn said his team has seven seniors and one junior, with the rest of his players being freshmen and sophomores. He said there are only five or six players on his team who would have made a regular Anchorage varsity squad.
"We're a little behind," Quinn said. "The younger guys have to learn from the seniors what it takes to play at this high intensity level."
In many ways, the Stars are in the same boat as the Wolves. Soldotna has just two seniors Herring and Kevin Laurion.
"We've got a really young team," Swanson said. "They need to learn to come to play every night."
Swanson said Soldotna's play was so lackluster in the first two periods that the Stars should have been trailing. The main factor keeping Soldotna ahead was the goaltending of Micah Perletti.
"He made the saves he needed to make," Swanson said of Perletti.
Perletti erased defensive breakdowns all evening for the Stars, including a breakaway just seconds into the second period. Eagle River erased Perletti's shutout with 56 seconds left in the game, when Jack Pearce swooped in all alone on Perletti. Perletti turned back Pearce's bid, but Bob Sonday also was unchecked and tapped in the rebound.
Soldotna took its 2-0 lead on a pair of power-play goals. In the first period, Laurion hammered home a one-timer from the slot on assists from Herring and Eli Waldrip. In the second period, Ben Christianson won a scramble in front of the net for a goal. An assist went to Clayton Glick.
"I was getting really frustrated in the first two periods," said Herring, who has eight goals in three games. "I had plenty of opportunities, but I was not putting them in. I told myself before the third period that I wanted to start capitalizing on them."
Herring started taking advantage of his opportunities 7:35 into the third period, when Christianson won a face-off and got the puck to a wide-open Herring in front of the net. After Laurion assisted a power-play goal by Anton Olsen, Herring finished with three straight goals.
His first was assisted by Christianson and Glick and came from the point. His next two were short-handed, with Christianson picking up another assist on one of the goals.
"We kind of fell apart in the third period," Quinn said. "I put a couple of guys in there who did not have as much experience."
Meanwhile, Herring saw hope in the third period.
"We didn't get up to speed until the third period, but in the third period we played very well," he said. "Some of these guys on this team just need a little time to mature."
STARS 7, WOLVES 1
Eagle River 0 0 1 1
Soldotna 1 1 5 7
First period 1. Soldotna, Laurion (Herring, Waldrip), 10:13. Penalties Eagle River 1 for 2:00; Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Second period 2. Soldotna, Christianson (Glick), 1:28. Penalties Eagle River 3 for 6:00; Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Third period 3. Soldotna, Herring (Christianson), 6:35; 4. Soldotna, Olsen (Laurion), 8:19; 5. Soldotna, Herring (Christianson, Glick), 9:56; 6. Soldotna, Herring (un.), 11:56; 7. Herring (Christianson), 12:13; 8. Eagle River, Sonday (Pearce), 14:04. Penalties Eagle River 3 for 6:00; Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal Eagle River 3-5-816; Soldotna 14-13-1845.
Goalies Eagle River, Blaire (45 shots, 38 saves); Soldotna, Perletti (16 shots, 15 saves).
Dimond 6, Kenai Central 0
The Kardinals opened their season with a loss to a deep and talented Dimond team Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
"It's tough. They could be the best team in the state, and they're certainly in the top two," Kenai coach Nate Kiel said of the Lynx. "They have tremendous depth."
The Kardinals, meanwhile, do not have the depth they have enjoyed in recent years. Kenai was playing with just two lines and two sets of defenders Friday night. Kiel hopes to develop more lines and defenders as the season wears on, but without those bodies keeping up with a Dimond is tough.
A measure of Dimond's depth came on the score sheet. William Rapuzzi and Trent McKee were the only Lynx to enjoy multipoint evenings, with Rapuzzi collecting two goals and an assist and McKee notching a goal and an assist.
However, Dimond had eight other players collect a single point, with Eric Vilce, Nick Davis and Josiah Westbrook getting the other goals for the Lynx.
Considering Dimond's depth and skill, Kiel was happy with the way his squad played in the opener.
"We've got a blue-collar team," Kiel said. "I'll take a blue-collar team over a team with a few stars any day."
Kiel said the strength of the team this year will be its goaltending, with junior Lauren Baldwin and senior Ben Boycott. Baldwin got the start Friday and came up with 32 saves.
"Each of our goalies is very solid fundamentally and very athletic," Kiel said. "They should be pushing each other all year."
Senior defenseman Kyle Coleman also did well under heavy pressure. On offense, Kiel expects big years from forwards Owen Dukowitz, Jed McGlasson, Michael Drobnick and Brad Fusaro, but the Kardinals played dump-and-chase against the Lynx and had a hard time sustaining an attack.
Dimond goalie Mickey Geraghty registered the shutout for the Lynx, preserving the goose egg with a diving save on a one-timer on a crossing pass late in the third period.
"Today, we got 13 shots against Dimond," Kiel said. "We spent a lot of time in the penalty box, or we could have had more."
Penalties were the lone area where Kiel was disappointed in his team. Kiel said that without a lot of depth, his team will not be able to get away with committing nine penalties like it did against the Lynx.
LYNX 6, KARDINALS 0
Dimond 2 2 2 6
Kenai 0 0 0 0
First period 1. Dimond, Vilce (Halverson, Rapuzzi), 5:26; 2. Dimond, Rapuzzi (Currier), 14:07. Penalties Dimond 2 for 4:00; Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Second period 3. Dimond, Davis (un.), 2:11; 4. Dimond, Rapuzzi (McKee), 11:28. Penalties Dimond 4 for 8:00; Kenai 2 for 4:00.
Third period 5. Dimond, Westbrook (Murphy), 2:40; 6. Dimond, McKee (Holzschuh, Waldrop) 7:21. Penalties Dimond 4 for 16:00; Kenai 6 for 20:00.
Shots on goal Dimond 10-14-1438; Kenai 5-5-313.
Goalies Dimond, Geraghty (13 shots, 13 saves); Kenai, Baldwin (38 shots, 32 saves).
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