Soldotna’s Andrew Arthur brings the puck out from behind the net under pressure from Chugiak’s Shayden Davis on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Andrew Arthur brings the puck out from behind the net under pressure from Chugiak’s Shayden Davis on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Hockey roundup: Kenai tops Kodiak, Mustangs top Stars

The host Soldotna hockey team lost 3-1 to Chugiak on Friday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in nonconference action to fall to 3-3-1 overall.

The Friday game and today’s 3 p.m. tilt between the Division II Stars and Division I Mustangs came about because both teams were scheduled to play at the End of the Road Tournament in Homer this weekend.

That tourney was canceled when the Mariners were unable to field a team this season.

Both coaches were happy with the way things worked out.

“We got lucky actually playing these guys right now,” Soldotna head coach Anthony Zurfluh said. “The scuttlebutt back at the (Stars and Stripes) Tournament last week was that, “Everybody wants a taste of Chugiak. They’re the No. 1.’

“These guys being No. 1 in the state right now for big schools — it’s pretty huge for us to see the very best.”

Chugiak head coach Rodney Wild, now in his 24th year leading the Mustangs, said it’s a little early to anoint his team as No. 1. The Mustangs are 5-0-1, with the tie coming to Dimond.

Wild said Chugiak was looking at a Fairbanks trip for this weekend, but then the opportunity opened up for a shorter bus ride to play Kenai Central on Thursday and the Stars on Friday and today.

The Mustangs also got a chance to take in the North American Hockey League game between the Kenai River Brown Bears and Anchorage Wolverines on Friday night.

Wild said the Stars may be the deepest team the Mustangs have played this season and provided a good measuring stick for his team.

“Especially the first two periods are the best periods of hockey we’ve played this year just in terms of doing the things we need to do to be successful,” Wild said. “We played a physical game without getting called for penalties.”

The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead after the first period when Fischer Sims scored on an assist from Ajay Johnson.

In the second period, Johnson made it 2-0 on an assist from Sims, but then Daniel Heath cut it to 2-1 with 7:55 left in the second period. About a minute later, Sims, assisted by Shayden Davis and Johnson, made it 3-1.

“We need to tighten up our D zone,” Zurfluh said. “Those guys are shooters, and they’re fast, they can all skate and they play well together.”

Zurfluh said he was still proud of his team, particularly goalie Jackson Purcell. Purcell stopped 30, while Daegn Love saved 17 for Chugiak.

“Their goalie played fantastic, especially in the first few periods,” Wild said.

Zurfluh said defenseman and captain Aiden Burcham logged a lot of minutes despite being sick and throwing up between periods. The head coach also liked the play out of the line of Jace Applehans, Boone Theiler and Dawson Lockwood.

The Stars had a tough time getting to the center of the ice for quality chances.

“That’s something we’ve been working on — protect the center of the ice and have some good back pressure on the puck,” Wild said.

Zurfluh said the Stars were missing a few key players against the Mustangs. The coach said he’d love to win the Division II state tournament and get a chance to play the Mustangs in the Division I tourney.

“I’d love to see these guys in February toward the end of the year when I know we’re clicking on all cylinders,” Zurfluh said.

Kenai 11, Kodiak 3

The Kardinals defeated the Bears in Railbelt Conference play Friday at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility.

Kenai is now 1-0 in the league and 3-5 overall, while the Bears fall to 0-1 and 0-4.

The Kards led 5-1 after the first period and 7-3 after the second period.

Avery Martin had four goals for Kenai and also tallied a pair of assists. Logan Mese also had four goals for the Kards, and added three assists. Also scoring for Kenai were Reagan Graves, Caden Warren and Landen Cialek. Cialek also had five assists.

John Paul Pogson, John Bowman and Theron Glover had the goals for Kodiak.

Evyn Witt made 14 saves for the Kardinals, while Aiden Johnson and Simon Lonheim combined to stop 37 for the Bears.

Friday

Mustangs 3, Stars 1

Chugiak 1 2 0 —3

Soldotna 0 1 0 —1

First period — 1. Chugiak, Sims (Johnson), 11:13. Penalties — Chugiak 1 for 2:00; Soldotna 3 for 6:00.

Second period — 2. Chugiak, Johnson (Sims), 0:35; 3. Soldotna, Heath (un.), 7:05; 3. Chugiak, Sims (Davis, Johnson), 8:10. Penalties — none.

Third period — none. Penalties — Chugiak 3 for 6:00; Soldotna 1 for 2:00.

Shots on goal — Chugiak 13-11-9—33; Soldotna 4-4-10—18.

Goalies — Chugiak, Love (18 shots, 17 saves); Soldotna, Purcell (33 shotes, 30 saves).

Kardinals 11, Bears 3

Kodiak 1 2 0 —3

Kenai 5 2 4 —11

First period — 1. Kenai, Graves (Mese, Cialek), 2:50; 2. Kenai, Warren (Wait), 5:07; 3. Kodiak, Pogson (un.), 8:17; 4. Kenai, Mese (Cialek), 10:58; 5. Kenai, Martin (un.), 13:17; 6. Kenai, Martin (Cialek, Graves), 13:51. Penalties — Kodiak 4 for 8:00; Kenai 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 7. Kenai, Martin (Mese), 5:00; 8. Kodiak, Bowman (Aquino), 5:44; 9. Kenai, Mese (Warren), 9:42; 10. Kodiak, Glover (Mitchell, Ardnt), 11:10. Penalties — Kodiak 2 for 4:00; Kenai 1 for 2:00.

Third period — 11. Kenai, Cialek (Mese, Verkuilen), 0:16; 12. Kenai, Mese (Cialek, Martin), 1:37; 13. Kenai, Mese (Martin, Warren), 4:21; 14. Kenai, Martin (Mese, Cialek), 12:39. Penalties — Kodiak 2 for 4:00; Kenai 1 for 2:00.

Shots on goal — Kodiak 6-4-7—17; Kenai 18-15-15—48.

Goalies — Kodiak, Johnson, Lonheim (48 shots, 37 saves); Kenai, Witt (17 shots, 14 saves).

Soldotna goalie Jackson Purcell makes a save on Chugiak’s Barrett Pelant on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna goalie Jackson Purcell makes a save on Chugiak’s Barrett Pelant on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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