The Palmer Moose sent the Nikiski High School hockey team on a bit of a roller coaster ride Thursday, handing the Bulldogs a 9-3 nonconference defeat at the Kenai Multipurpose Facility.
"We started off good," said Nikiski's Josh Winters. "We have little spurts of momentum, but when we let down, they capitalize and score."
Indeed, after the Bulldogs scored the first goal in the opening minutes and carried the play to the Palmer end of the rink for much of the first period, the Moose were able to take advantage of a Nikiski breakdown for a pair of shorthanded goals at the end of the period and a 3-2 lead at the first intermission.
The second period went much the same way for the Bulldogs. Nikiski poured it on early, outshooting Palmer 25-9 in the frame, but the Moose were able to squelch the Bulldogs' momentum with a pair of goals 34 seconds apart midway through the period.
The Moose added three more goals in the third period. Nikiski had several good bids, but couldn't put another point on the board.
"We're going to be working on playing consistently throughout the period, with the same amount of energy," Nikiski coach Al Anderson said. "The spirit of the team is good, though, and we're looking forward to playing Skyview (today) at the Sports Center."
Anderson said he did see some improvement in his squad.
"This team is coming around and growing," Anderson said. "We have a large number of juniors, and they're learning some things that will help them out next year."
Anderson also said it was fun to see Nikiski goaltender John Schwenke, a sophomore, step up for his first start while regular goaltender Luke Hardesty was out with an ankle injury. Anderson said Schwenke was playing his first season of hockey.
"He's doing fine," Anderson said.
Winters said the Bulldogs were starting to come together as a team.
"We did play more as a team, and we scored some good goals," Winters said. "We've finally got all of our players going. We had to regroup, but now we're getting it together."
MOOSE 9, BULLDOGS 3
Palmer 3 3 3 -- 9
Nikiski 2 1 0 -- 3
First period -- 1. Nikiski, Anderson (Womack, Winters), 1:21; 2. Palmer, Stewart (Borsetti), 9:24; 3. Nikiski, Russell (Alleman), 11:04; 4. Palmer, Riggs (unassisted), 14:39; 5. Palmer, Roy (unassisted), 14:57. Penalties -- Palmer 2 for 4:00.
Second period -- 6. Palmer, McKenzie (Marcott, Logan), 8:11; 7. Palmer, Borsetti (Roy), 8:45; 8. Palmer, Gabel (Richards), 11:16; 9. Nikiski, Anderson (Flensburg, Womack), 11:39. Penalties -- Palmer 4 for 8:00, Nikiski 1 for 2:00.
Third period -- 10. Palmer, McKenzie (Riggs, Stewart), 0:25; 11. Palmer, Riggs (Borsetti), 5:30; 12. Palmer, Horcsik (Logan), 5:51. Penalties -- Palmer 4 for 16:00, Nikiksi 2 for 4:00.
Shots -- Palmer 6-9-12--27, Nikiski 15-25-4--44.
Goalies -- Palmer, Stock (44 shots, 41 saves); Nikiski, Schwenke (27 shots, 18 saves).
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