The Soldotna High School hockey team took a 3-0 first-period lead, and goaltender Jon Verhelst withstood a second-period barrage by the Skyview Panthers as the Stars notched a 6-0 win Tuesday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
"The big thing is we got a win, and the kids played some good hockey at times," said Soldotna coach Pat Nolden.
The Stars got their first two goals 10 seconds apart in the first period. Matt Vasilie put the Stars on the board with a power-play goal, assisted by Hunter Sirois at 8:45 of the period. Sirois demonstrated his deft touch around the net 10 seconds later, touching home the puck off an assist from Ben Tikka.
Sirois netted his second goal of the night with 1:25 left in the first period, with Tikka notching another assist. Brian Herring also assisted on the play.
While the Stars dominated play in the first period, outshooting the Panthers 12-1, Skyview turned things around in the second, playing the Soldotna even.
Soldotna's Nels Hansen scored the only goal of the period during a four-on-four situation, assisted by Scott Laurion and Peter Kim, but Verhelst was called on to make several big stops, including two on breakaways.
Skyview had several more excellent bids during the period, but either sent the puck just wide of the net, or couldn't quite get a shot off a stick.
"The second period was our best period -- we finally got some shots," Skyview coach Pete Iverson said. "You can't score if you don't shoot, and we're not getting shots off."
The Stars stole the momentum away from the Panthers to start the third period, potting a pair of goals in the first two minutes of the frame. Sirois completed his hat trick 1:13 into the period, assisted by Daniel Potton, and Laurion notched a goal with the teams skating four-on-four, assisted by Kim and Johnny Mills.
Nolden pointed to Laurion as one of the game's stars.
"He did it defensively all night," Nolden said. "On the penalty kill, the power play, in front of the net -- he was a star tonight."
Nolden said it was the first game that his 4-2 Stars had played that wasn't a one-goal game.
Iverson was impressed with the effort from Lukas Fellman.
"The momentum of the game changed when he was out there," Iverson said.
STARS 6, PANTHERS 0
Soldotna 3 1 2 -- 6
Skyview 0 0 0 -- 0
First period -- 1. Soldotna, Vasilie (Sirois), 8:45 (pp); 2. Soldotna, Sirois (Tikka), 8:55; 3. Soldotna, Sirois (Tikka, Herring), 13:35. Penalties -- Soldotna 1 for 2:00, Skyview 1 for 2:00.
Second period -- 4. Soldotna, Hansen (Laurion, Kim), 8:30. Penalties -- Soldotna 3 for 6:00, Skyview 2 for 4:00.
Third period -- 5. Soldotna, Sirois (Potton), 1:13 (sh); 6. Soldotna, Laurion (Kim, Mills), 1:56. Penalties -- Soldotna 2 for 4:00, Skyview 1 for 2:00.
Shots -- Soldotna 12-13-9--34, Skyview 1-10-1--12.
Goalies -- Soldotna, Verhelst (12 shots, 12 saves); Skyview, Williamson, Kay (34 shots, 28 saves).
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