After having a controversial goal waved off Thursday night in a 2-1 loss to Wasilla, Soldotna captain Clayton Glick said he tried to let that go entering Friday's game against Colony.
By now, that memory is probably long gone.
Glick gave the refs no reason to discuss anything when he scored four times, two off assists from freshman Brad Duwe, and Stars goaltender Stephen Kendrick turned away 26 of the 28 shots he faced in just his second start of the season as Soldotna rolled to a 7-2 win over visiting Colony at the Soldotna Sports Center.
"It was nice to see the first line break it open and get quite a few goals. They moved the puck well (Friday) and it was nice, too, because a lot of our younger kids got some shifts (Friday)," said Stars coach Kyle Howell. "It's been a few games since we've scored more than two goals playing the Anchorage schools. And so it was good to put the puck in the net (Friday) because I was starting to wonder, the kids were starting to wonder, if they could or not."
There's obviously no need to wonder anymore.
The Stars struck just 4:10 into the contest when Daniel Markstrom sent a cross-ice pass to Glick, who wristed it past the lower left side of Knights goalie Charlie Holman.
Duwe then found the back of the net himself when he dropped a pass to Markstrom, who fired the puck off the upper body of Holman. Duwe, slicing in from the right, batted the rubber out of midair and over Holman's shoulder for a 2-0 edge with 8:18 still to play in the opening period.
"I thought we brought it together pretty good (Friday)," Glick said. "We've got a couple young guys on our team who were working pretty well. I like our new systems we're running and we're doing pretty good."
Soldotna tacked on one more before the end of the period when Duwe, planted behind the net, passed in front to Glick, who easily lifted it over Holman for a 3-0 lead.
"I wish they had made it a little easier (Thursday)," Howell said with a laugh. "When we went down to Homer (on Nov. 20), our second line, they did an excellent job down there. Our first line, I was missing a couple of the first-line guys. So, it was nice to see them able to come in and carry the load a little bit (Friday) because that second line did it in Homer."
Junior defenseman Kevin Garske made it 4-0 with 21 seconds remaining on a second-period power play and Jake Pokryfki, attempting to simply clear the puck from his own goal line, sent it sliding down the ice toward Holman, who misplayed it, allowing it to trickle into the back of the net.
"That's his first goal of the season and it might even be the first goal of his varsity career," Howell said. "I was kind of shocked, too, that it went in."
That was the end of Holman's night, as he was immediately replaced by Jason Murak, who didn't fare much better.
Following a squandered three-on-one opportunity by the Knights, Duwe found Glick for his third goal of the evening.
"They seem to benefit from each other on the ice. It's their first year playing together and it's just one of those mixes," Howell said, adding they play on separate teams in Anchorage, too. "They're both talented kids. ... I'm glad they're skating for me."
Just 52 seconds later, though, Colony captain Blake Huppert danced through Soldotna's defense before ripping a shot off the back boards. Luckily for him, the puck bounced right back toward him and he was able to flip the rubber over Kendrick's shoulder.
Perhaps one of the best players in the North Star Conference, Huppert had ample scoring opportunities all game, which Howell believes isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"He's a really good skater. He was tough on us last year when he had a couple kids to skate with. He's a workhorse and any minute he can pop in there and get a couple on you. So, you've got to watch him a little bit," he said. "And it nice for us to have Kendrick face people like that because Kendrick will be the guy next year."
After Kendrick covered another slapper by Huppert, Glick capped the Stars' scoring when he backhanded a shot over Murak for a 7-1 lead with 4:35 remaining.
The Knights added a goal with 9.7 seconds left as Jesse Krey corralled a bouncing puck at the point and rifled a slapper off the defense and into the back of the net.
"We we right there (Thursday), too," Howell said of capturing their first NSC victory this season. "We're right in the mix of things, so we're pretty excited."
Despite converting just once on seven power-play chances, Howell wasn't too upset.
"The power play still needs some work. But we had some good puck movement on it (Friday). But we're still struggling on putting it in the net," he said. "This has been the nice thing is we've got a good group of kids and they're not taking a whole lot of penalties. We've been playing pretty smart and keeping our heads and I'm pretty pleased with the boys with that."
Soldotna 3, Palmer 2
Duwe scored a pair of goals and Glick added another in leading the Stars past the visiting Moose on Saturday.
Jared Hanson staked Palmer to a 1-0 lead at the eight-minute mark of the first, but Glick struck with 1:03 to play in the period off an assist from Duwe and just 34 seconds later, Duwe added a goal of his own.
The Moose tied the game on a power play with 5:36 to play in the second when Michael Hanson scored off assists from Zack Richards and Jared Hanson.
Then just 14 seconds into the final frame, Duwe gave the Stars the lead for good when he scored an unassisted goal.
Goalie Mike McGrath made the lead stand up, turning away 17 of the 19 shots that came his way, while Palmer goalie Jonas Naegele denied 26 of 29 shots.
Matthew Carroll can be reached at email@example.com.
STARS 7, KNIGHTS 2
Colony 0 0 2 2
Soldotna 3 1 3 7
First period 1. Soldotna, Glick (Garske), 4:10; 2. Soldotna, Duwe (Markstrom), 6:42; 3. Soldotna, Glick (Duwe, Markstrom), 12:36. Penalties Colony 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Second period 4. Soldotna, Garske (Markstrom), 9:29 (pp). Penalties Colony 7 for 22:00; Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
Third period 5. Soldotna, Pokryfki (Kendrick), 1:28; 6. Soldotna, Glick (Duwe), 8:42; 7. Colony, Huppert (Krey), 9:34; 8. Soldotna, Glick (Markstrom, Garske), 10:25; 9. Colony, Krey (unassisted), 14:51. Penalties Colony 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 3 for 6:00.
Shots on goal Colony 5-15-8 28; Soldotna 9-2-7 18.
Goalies Colony, Holman (12 shots-7 saves), Murak (6 shots, 4 saves); Soldotna, Kendrick (28 shots-26 saves).
STARS 3, MOOSE 2
Palmer 1 1 0 2
Soldotna 2 0 1 3
First period 1. Palmer, J. Hanson (M. Hanson), 7:00; 2. Soldotna, Glick (Duwe), 13:57; 3. Soldotna, Duwe (Markstrom, Garske), 14:31. No Penalties.
Second period 4. Palmer, M. Hanson (Richards, J. Hanson), 9:24 (pp). Penalties Palmer 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 4 for 8:00.
Third period 5. Soldotna, Duwe (unassisted), 0:14. Penalties Palmer 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal Palmer 8-6-5 19; Soldotna 8-6-15 29.
Goalies Palmer, Naegele (29 shots-26 saves); Soldotna, McGrath (19 shots-17 saves).
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