Kenai's Micah Lillard crashes into the net after scoring on Skyview's Nick Hawkins in the first period Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The Skyview High School hockey team put an early scare into Kenai Central Friday night, but the Kardinals put together a big third period for a 12-2 North Star Conference win at the Soldotna Sports Center.
"They (Skyview) came out, as all teams in our conference will, to give it their best shot. Skyview is no different. They have a very, very good work ethic, and they're not afraid to take some chances," said Kenai coach Nate Kiel after his Kardinals found themselves trailing by a goal early in the first period.
Indeed, the Panthers were able to get some extra players into their attack through the first period, capitalizing just 4:50 into the game when Josh Cho tucked the puck home with assists from Ryan Mercier and Scott Ralston to give Skyview a 1-0 lead.
Kenai tied the game 2:05 later when John McGlasson slipped a shot past Skyview goaltender Nick Hawkins from the right circle, assisted by Cody Carver. The Kardinals went up 2-1 on a tally by Micah Lillard, assisted by Trevor Baldwin, but the Panthers came right back to tie the game at 2 on Paddy Iverson's goal with an assist from Mercier.
"It's really exciting to see Skyview score the first goal. It just excites the whole team," said Panthers coach Pete Iverson.
While the Panthers were playing well, Kiel said his team was unfocused at the start of the game a problem Kenai has been struggling with all season and Kiel went as far as to bench some of his players at the start of the game in an effort to get them more focused.
"A couple of us didn't come prepared for the game as much as we should have been," said Lillard, one of the players kept on the bench through the first half of the period. "Sitting made us become more focused and realize what we're here for."
Lillard responded with a four-goal night, netting three of Kenai's seven third-period goals as the Kardinals simply wore down the Panthers.
Carver netted the go-ahead goal for the Kardinals with just under a minute to play in the first period, springing free on a pass from Kegan Kiel.
Owen Dukowitz and Travis Temple netted second-period scores, and Carver, Jed McGlasson, Dean Howell and Nelson Kempf added to Lillard's scoring effort in the third period.
Skyview's Ryan Mercier is chased by teammates and defenders from Kenai as he controls the puck in the second period Friday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
"We don't want to let down. We want to finish hard," Lillard said. "We want to make sure we don't let down after we had gotten so much better. We want to keep the intensity at a high level."
Lillard said the Kardinals are still improving and is looking forward to next week's trip to Mat-Su to play Palmer, Wasilla and Colony.
The Panthers also are improving and have kept their spirits high despite some tough games, Iverson said.
"We work so hard in practice, and we can see it one the ice," said Skyview's C.J. Kirby. "No one really likes (hard practices), but it helps.
"... We've been getting better all around. Kids are really supporting each other, playing like a team."
Kardinals 12, Panthers 2
Skyview 2 0 0 2
Kenai 3 2 7 12
First period 1. Skyview, Cho (Mercier, Ralston), 4:50; 2. Kenai, Jo. McGlasson (Carver), 6:55; 3. Kenai, Lillard (T. Baldwin), 8:09; 4. Skyview, Iverson (Mercier), 9:35; 5. Kenai, Carver (Kiel), 14:06. Penalties Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Second period 6. Kenai, Dukowitz (Je. McGlasson), 9:32; 7. Kenai, Temple (Carver, Cristiano), 12:10 pp. Penalties Skyview 1 for 2:00, Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Third period 8. Kenai, Lillard (Cristiano), 0:15; 9. Kenai, Carver (Jo. McGlasson), 1:48 pp; 10. Kenai, Je. McGlasson (Dukowitz, Fusaro), 4:11 pp; 11. Kenai, Lillard (Henley), 4:29; 12. Kenai, Howell (T. Baldwin), 6:51; 13. Kenai, Lillard (Lampman-Reid, T. Baldwin), 9:18; 14. Kenai, Kempf (Ischi), 12:22. Penalties Skyview 2 for 4:00.
Shots Skyview 13-4-623; Kenai 14-17-2253.
Goalies Skyview, Hawkins (53 shots, 41 saves); Kenai, Boycott (22 shots, 20 saves).
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