The Skyview High School hockey team posted an impressive victory Saturday night, defeating crosstown rival Soldotna Stars 3-0 in a nonconference game at the Soldotna Sports Center.
"The whole team is starting to click," said Skyview's Paddy Iverson.
The Panthers owned the first period, outshooting the Stars 14-2. Cody Carver netted a goal for the Panthers 3:59 into the period, skating along the end line, cutting in toward the goal and beating Soldotna goaltender Jon Verhelst five-hole. Matt Bell and Ryan Mercier assisted on the play.
The Panthers had a goal called back four minutes later after officials ruled the puck had been kicked into the net, but Skyview maintained its pressure throughout the period with an aggressive forecheck and solid defense.
"We're playing a new defense, and it's working a lot better," said Skyview's Gabe Fellman. "We're not allowing very many shots on goal and our forechecking is good. Everyone is backchecking and sticking with their men."
Skyview goaltender Kris Marshall handled both shots to come his way, redirecting a puck played into his crease and turning aside a shot taken from outside the Panthers blue line.
The Panthers kept their momentum through the second period, again outshooting the Stars, this time by a 12-4 margin. Even playing short-handed didn't faze Skyview as the Panthers had several golden chances while killing penalties.
Gabe Fellman was able to convert on one short-handed bid for Skyview, putting a hard wrist shot past Verhelst from the top of the right circle 2:31 into the period. Fellman's shot came after Verhelst made a series of saves on point-blank Skyview shots, but the Soldotna goalie wasn't able to smother the puck, and the Stars weren't able to clear it away.
Cody Carver and Matt Bell earned assists on the play.
Soldotna was able to sustain some offense early in third period, but Marshall turned aside the Stars' best shots.
Skyview gave itself a three-goal cushion with 3:33 left in the game with a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play. Matt Bell finished off the play for the goal, while Carver and Nelson Kempf assisted on the play.
Verhelst finished with 29 saves for the Stars, including several stops on Skyview skaters alone in front of him in the third period.
Marshall was credited with 11 saves for the shutout.
Heading into the Thanksgiving break, Soldotna (0-5) is still looking for its first win, while the Panthers are off to a 2-1 start.
Panthers 3, Stars 0
Skyview 1 1 1 3
Soldotna 0 0 0 0
First period 1. Skyview, Carver (Bell, R. Mercier), 3:59. Penalties Skyview 2 for 4:00, Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Second period 2. Skyview, Fellman (Carver, Bell), 2:31 (sh). Penalties Skyview 3 for 6:00, Soldotna 3 for 6:00.
Third period 3. Skyview, Bell (Carver, Kempf), 11:27. Penalties Soldotna 2 for 12:00, Skyview 2 for 4:00.
Shots Skyview 14-12-832, Soldotna 2-4-411.
Goalies Skyview, Marshall (11 shots, 11 saves); Soldotna, Verhelst (32 shots, 29 saves).
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