It's nothing new for Kenai Central senior Phillip Ischi to be on a line that produces plentiful points, but it is new for Ischi's linemates to be named Ryan Hicks and John McGlasson as opposed to 2003 graduates Adrian Borchgrevink and Owen Brewer.
Ischi's line had five goals Friday as the Kardinals wore down Wasilla and rolled to a 8-1 North Star Conference victory at the Soldotna Sports Center. The Kardinals improved to 9-1 overall and 3-0 in the NSC with the victory.
Ischi finished with four goals and an assist, while Hicks had a goal and five assists and McGlasson had five assists.
The first two periods of the game were close, with the Kardinals skating to a 2-1 lead. In the third period, Kenai, which had been rolling three lines all game, took control with six unanswered goals. Three of those goals were short-handed.
"We have two very good lines, and a third line with just as much talent as those first two lines," Ischi said. "When you have three lines coming at you, including two as good as our first two, it wears you out."
Those third-period goals would have been crucial instead of cushion if not for Kenai's continued solid goaltending and defense. Those two areas were showcased in the first period, when the Warriors spent 3 minutes, 30 seconds, on the power play.
Despite numerous chances, Wasilla could not beat Kenai goalie Garrett Myers.
"We were on the penalty kill a lot in the first period, and I thought Garrett Myers did a good job," Kenai coach Brian Gabriel Sr. said. "If he had given up two or three goals, that would have been a tough hole to dig out of."
Instead, Ischi and Hicks managed goals in the first period to put Kenai up 2-0.
Kenai's Micah Lillard tries to elude Wasilla's Andrew Tumbleson and Arlin Welch in the second period Friday at Soldotna Sports Center.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
In the second period, Kenai, by and large, was able to stay out of the penalty box. The Kardinals had trouble adjusting to Wasilla's aggressive forecheck, however, and Wasilla's Spencer Syverston scored a power-play goal with 48 seconds left in the period to make it 2-1.
It was the one bad mark against Kenai's defense.
"Our defense keeps getting better and better," Gabriel said. "Joel Christianson makes it what it is. He's a senior, and I still haven't figured out what rattles the kid."
In the third period, Kenai made adjustments to counter Wasilla's forecheck. That, and aggressive penalty-killing, led to the scoring bonanza.
"Earlier in the year, the guys got off task too easily," Gabriel said. "If it was 2-1 going into the third period, we would have struggled. We've come a long way in that regard."
KARDINALS 8, WARRIORS 1
Wasilla 0 1 0 1
Kenai 2 0 6 8
First period 1. Kenai, Ischi (Hicks, McGlasson), 9:21; 2. Kenai, Hicks (McGlasson, Ischi), 13:22. Penalties Kenai 2 for 4:00.
Second period 3. Wasilla, Syverston (Sandone), 14:12. Penalties Wasilla 1 for 2:00; Kenai 2 for 4:00.
Third period 4. Kenai, Ischi (McGlasson, Hicks), 0:59; 5. Kenai, J. Smith (McGlasson), 3:02; 6. Kenai, Ischi (Hicks), 5:55; 7. Kenai, Ischi (Hicks), 6:30; 8. Kenai, Gabriel (McGlasson, Hicks), 11:00; 9. Kenai, C. Smith (J. Smith, Baldwin), 14:42.
Shots on goal Wasilla 10-6-218; Kenai 10-12-1234.
Goalies Wasilla, Walker (34 shots, 26 saves); Kenai, Myers (18 shots, 17 saves).
Soldotna 2, Palmer 1
The Stars picked up their first victory of the season, getting 22 clutch saves from freshman Micah Perletti and a game-winning goal from senior Johnny Mills Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center. Soldotna improved its record to 1-7 overall and 1-3 in the North Star Conference.
Early in the third period, the score was tied at 1 when there was a stoppage in play, and the announcement came over the loudspeaker that Mills had won $100 in a raffle.
After play started, another gift fell right into Mills' lap. Soldotna's Matt Vasilie put a shot on Palmer goalie Spencer Galvin. Galvin kicked the rebound to Mills, who deposited the puck in the back of the net.
"It was quite a moment," Mills said.
With 12:16 left in the game, the victory was far from assured. The job of holding the lead fell to Perletti, a freshman making his first varsity start. Perletti had used a variety of skills, particularly a quick glove hand, to keep the Moose at bay all evening.
In the final minute of the game, he would be called to make two final big saves. With 46 seconds left, he snared a laser from the blue line with his glove. Then, with 25 seconds left, he deflected a close-in shot off his shoulder to finally give SoHi a victory.
"I was getting worried there at the end," Perletti said. "I was hoping I could pull it off and hold on for that last minute."
The young Stars now have a victory to show for the hard work they've put in this season.
"I've got to give credit to the young guys for coming through," Mills said. "It's been tough. Soldotna had great teams the last three years, and these young guys have had to come in and deal with those expectations. They kept working hard."
The Stars did not even score a goal their first five games. Friday's victory showed new coach Aaron Swanson's systems are starting to bear fruit. SoHi also received a goal late in the second period from Brian Herring.
"With a young team, there's always going to be a learning process," Swanson said. "We're learning more with each game, and the confidence we gained tonight is important."
Swanson told the team it played its worst game of the season Thursday in a loss to Colony.
"Coach came out and challenged us and put us on the spot," Mills said. "It was up to us to answer."
STARS 2, MOOSE 1
Palmer 1 0 0 1
Soldotna 0 1 1 2
First period 1. Palmer, Roy (Senta, Blaylock), 11:29. Penalties Palmer 1 for 2:00; Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
Second period 2. Soldotna, Herring (Vasilie, Ghormley), 13:18. Penalties Palmer 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Third period 3. Soldotna, Mills (Vasilie), 2:44. Penalties Palmer 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal Palmer 6-9-823; Soldotna 5-6-819.
Goalies Palmer, Galvin (19 shots, 17 saves); Soldotna, Perletti (23 shots, 22 saves).
Colony 8, Skyview 3
Colony's Ryan Pauling had a hat trick Friday in North Star Conference action at the Soldotna Sports Center.
The Panthers were coming off a loss Thursday to Wasilla. Skyview coach Pete Iverson was not happy with the team's play Thursday, and he said Friday's game kept him unhappy.
"We didn't wake up until halfway through the second period," Iverson said after his squad dropped to 4-3 overall. "By then, it was too late to recover."
The Knights jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period, but Nelson Kempf scored to make it 2-1 with 6:07 left in the first. However, Pauling answered with a goal to put the Knights back up by two.
In the second period, Paddy Iverson scored with 9:10 left, but Colony scored twice before the period was over to take a comfortable 6-2 lead.
"We did play well as a team in the third period," Pete Iverson said.
Cody Carver picked up a goal with 8:53 left in the game to make it 6-3, but Colony, which outshot Skyview 45-28, scored twice late to account for the final score.
"We were doing really well at the beginning of the season, but lately we've been struggling," Skyview sophomore defenseman Carrick Cristiano said. "We need to start playing from the beginning of the game."
KNIGHTS 8, PANTHERS 3
Colony 3 3 2 8
Skyview 1 1 1 3
First period 1. Colony, Wilkins (un.), 3:37; 2. Colony, Mahelick (Shutlz, Allington), 6:27; 3. Skyview, Kempf (Iverson), 8:53; 4. Colony, Pauling, (Geary, Beekman), 9:45. Penalties Colony 1 for 2:00; Skyview 1 for 2:00.
Second period 5. Skyview, Iverson (un.), 5:50; 6. Colony, Arentz (Jones), 6:51; 7. Colony, Lund (Jones), 9:53; 8. Colony, Pauling (un.), 14:11. Penalties Colony 2 for 4:00; Skyview 2 for 4:00.
Third period 9. Skyview, Carver (Fellman, Bell), 6:07; 10. Colony, Pauling (Arentz), 12:52; 11. Colony, Shultz (Wilkins), 14:25. Penalties Skyview 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal Colony 15-16-1445; Skyview 6-11-1128.
Goalies Colony, Henkel (28 shots, 25 saves); Skyview, Marshall (45 shots, 37 saves).
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