While the score of Kenai Central High School's 8-1 North Star Conference victory over visiting Palmer was impressive, equally impressive was the rest of the stats on the score sheet -- most notably, Palmer's 13 penalties for 53 minutes compared to Kenai's seven penalties for 14 minutes.
"They did a real good job -- one thing we harp on is disciplined hockey," Kenai coach Brian Gabriel Sr. said of his squad's ability to avoid becoming lured into cheap-shot hockey. "It's pretty tough. These are young men, all pumped up and playing in front of their friends.
"It would be pretty easy to retaliate, but if you retaliate, then he got you twice, once with the hit and once with the penalty. If you don't, and you go out and score a goal, then you got him."
Indeed, the Kardinals kept skating circles around the Moose while Palmer continued to rack up roughing, unsportsmanlike and misconduct penalties.
Kenai's Tommy Henson said the Kardinals had a reputation of staying disciplined and focused, and cited on key motivating factor for keeping a level head.
"No-puck practices," Henson said. "Kenai's been known not to retaliate in those situations, and the scoreboard shows it."
The other stat recorded on the score sheet bears out Kenai's dominance -- 49 shots for the Kardinals compared with 13 for the Moose.
Owen Brewer put the Kardinals on the scoreboard just 19 seconds into the game, assisted by Adrian Borchgrevink.
Levi Goldsby was credited with an unassisted goal on a Kenai power play just 4:27 later, driving a bouncing puck past Palmer goalie Kyle Berti. John McGlasson added one more for the Kardinals before the intermission, firing home a nice shot from the slot off a pass from Henson.
"We're putting it together," Henson said. "We turned things around when we played Wasilla (last week). We've been coming out flying ever since."
Just to prove he was still in the game after facing just two shots in the first period, Kenai goalie Daniel Silver came up with a big save on a Palmer partial breakaway in the opening minute of the second period.
"We tell the defensemen to recognize if they can get to the puck before they pinch. Otherwise, they'll hang the goalie out to dry," Gabriel Sr. said. "Then you've got to go back and thank your goalie for saving the puck."
Kenai kept up its barrage on the Palmer goal, and Brewer and Borchgrevink set up Phillip Ischi for a pretty goal at 6:17 of the period. Just 1:49 later, Trevor Baldwin finished off an end-to-end Kenai rush, assisted by Micah Reynolds, to give Kenai a 5-0 lead after two periods.
Brewer netted his second goal nine seconds into the third period, winning the faceoff at center ice and skating through the entire Palmer defense. He completed his hat trick a minute later, tucking home the puck from just in front of the net, assisted by Borchgrevink and Zach Hicks.
Henson scored the final goal of the game for the Kardinals, assisted by McGlasson with 12:53 left in the third period.
Kenai's Owen Brewer and Palmer's Eli Riggs battle for the puck Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
"We've been throwing 40 shots on goal, but only getting one or two goals," Gabriel Sr. said of Kenai's last few games. "It's great to see the puck finally getting into the net."
Palmer's Eli Riggs spoiled Silver's shutout bid with 36 seconds left in the game.
Kenai enters the holiday break with a 6-5 overall record and a 4-1 mark in NSC play after defeating Colony 6-4 Saturday at the Sports Center.
KARDINALS 8, MOOSE 1
Palmer 0 0 1 -- 1
Kenai 3 2 3 -- 8
First period -- 1. Kenai, Brewer (Borchgrevink), 0:19; 2. Kenai, Goldsby (unassisted), 4:46 (pp); 3. Kenai, McGlasson (Henson), 5:02. Penalties -- Palmer 1 for 2:00, Kenai 2 for 4:00.
Second period -- 4. Kenai, Ischi (Borchgrevink, Brewer), 6:17; 5. Kenai, Baldwin (Reynolds), 8:06. Penalties -- Palmer 5 for 26:00, Kenai 3 for 6:00.
Third period -- 6. Kenai, Brewer (unassisted), 0:09 (shg); 7. Kenai, Brewer (Borchgrevink, Z. Hicks), 1:09; 8. Kenai, Henson (McGlasson), 2:07; 9. Palmer, Riggs (unassisted), 14:24 (pp). Penalties -- Palmer 7 for 25:00, Kenai 2 for 4:00.
Shots -- Palmer 2-5-6--13, Kenai 18-15-16--49.
Goalies -- Palmer, Berti (49 shots, 41 saves); Kenai, Silver (13 shots, 12 saves).
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