Despite losing 12-1 in the first contest of the season Thursday night, Kenai hockey coach Pete Iverson is turning the rout into a positive.
"We'll do nothing but get better playing teams like this," Iverson said. "They're a big, tough, deep team."
The two teams opened the Peninsula Ice Challenge at the Soldotna Sports Center. The tournament, which features Kenai, Service, Soldotna and Lathrop, continues today and Saturday.
Service started the scoring 1 minute, 19 seconds, into the game. Alex Prestegard scored with Chase Crabb adding the helper.
Crabb and Prestegard switched roles about four minutes later when Crabb received a pass from Prestegard and ripped a shot past Kenai's net-minder.
The Cougars added a late-period goal when Devon Lamothe netted one of his three goals on the night. Left alone in the slot, Lamothe buried a shot past Kyle Dougherty with 1:09 to play in the first.
Service peppered Dougherty with 43 shots in the game. Kenai managed just seven.
"I was very pleased with our kids' effort," said Service head coach Keith Morris. "We have an up-tempo team."
Morris said many of players on his team have played together in the past. "There's good continuity there," Morris said. The preseason tournament, too, helps to build that chemistry, he said.
"It's a great opportunity for us," Morris said. "We're very pleased to be down here. It's a good start for us."
Morris gave Kenai's squad credit for skating hard the entire game.
"They continued to play hard all the way to the end," he said.
Iverson echoed Morris' words.
"They played hard the whole game," he said. "There was a real positive attitude on the bench."
After four Cougars goals to open the second period, Kenai's Zack Zulkanycz broke the shutout. He rushed into the Cougars zone, deked around a Service defenseman and buried a shot past Cougars goaltender Cody Gongora.
But Service answered back 17 seconds later with a goal. Less than a minute later, the Cougars added another tally, bringing the score to 9-1 in favor of Service after two periods of play.
Lamothe, who had a goal in each period, netted his hat trick less than two minutes into the final period. Cody Hansen slid a pass to Lamothe and he scored on the one-timer.
Two more Service goals brought the final score to 12-1.
Kenai faces off against Lathrop today at 8:30 p.m. at the Soldotna Sports Center. Soldotna takes on Service at 6:15 p.m. Lathrop and Service meet on Saturday at 6 p.m. and Kenai and SoHi play at 8:15 p.m.
Lathrop 5, Soldotna 3
Anders Carlson scored three goals and Dawson Hebard added two third-period tallies as the Malemutes held off the Stars on Thursday.
After Carlson gave Lathrop the lead in the first period, Soldotna came back with a goal by Sean Endsley, assisted by Dalton Pearson and Zack Waters, in the final minute of the first.
Carlson then completed his hat trick in the second period as the Malemutes jumped to a 3-1 lead.
After Hebard lit the lamp to start the fourth, Ty Anderson and Nick Pokryfki, on assists from Matt Fellman and Matt Silver, made it 4-3. Hebert then scored again to give Lathrop some breathing room.
Mike Nesper can be reached at email@example.com.
Cougars 12, Kardinals 1
Service 3 6 3 -- 9
Kenai 0 1 0 -- 1
First period -- 1. Service, Prestegard (Crabb), 13:41; 2. Service, Crabb (Prestegard), pp, 9:04; 3. Service, Lamothe (Hansen, Ptrestegard), 1:09. Penalties -- Service, 2 for 4:00; Kenai, 3 for 14:00.
Second period -- 4. Service, Lamothe (Smith, Hansen), 14:17; 5. Service, Smith (Hansen), 9:03; 6. Klump (Vivian, McInnis), 6:20; 7. Service, Hansen (Lamothe), 4:56; 8. Kenai, Zulkanycz (Hendricks), 3:44; 9. Service, McInnis (Sture, Johnson), 3:27. Penalties -- Service, 1 for 2:00; Kenai, 2 for 4:00.
Third period -- 10. Service, Lamothe (Hansen), 13:41; 11. Service, McInnis (Yawit), 8:20; 12. Service, Munoz (Harren), 7:42. Penalties -- Service, 2 for 4:00; Kenai, 3 for 6:00.
Shots -- Service, 12-20-11 -- 43; Kenai, 1-4-2 -- 7.
Goalies -- Service, Gongora (7 shots, 6 saves); Kenai, Dougherty (43 shots, 31 saves).
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