Juneau-Douglas High School scored four first period goals as the Crimson Bears won 5-1 Friday night over Kenai Central at Treadwell Ice Arena, but the Kardinals came back to claim the split in the nonconference series with a 7-3 victory Saturday.
Five different JDHS players scored in the season opener, which was well attended as several hundred fans took refuge from the November snow inside the beloved Douglas rink to cheer on the red and black.
JDHS outshot Kenai 36-20, finishing their checks and limiting the Kardinals’ scoring opportunities with a disciplined defensive effort. Junior goalie Cody Mitchell saved 19 of the 20 shots he faced.
“They move the puck and they keep their feet moving and that’s important,” Kenai head coach Jacob Newton said of JDHS.
Junior Bill Bosse unleased a quick slap shot from the top of the right circle that beat Kenai’s Josh Tree on the low blocker side at 2 minutes, 23 seconds, of the first period. Bosse and linemate Jacob Dale would continue to test Tree for the rest of the game.
A minute after Bosse’s goal, Kenai forward Jakeb O’Brien gestured to the four row-deep student section to “quiet down” — lifting one finger over his helmet cage — inciting a vocal response from several teens. O’Brien had just entered the game and scored the equalizer on JDHS’ Mitchell.
But the goal didn’t dampen the Crimson Bears’ offensive assertiveness, which Dale said was aided by the team’s defense.
“I think our defense was able to hold them off when we weren’t going on offense,” Dale said.
On the heels of back-to-back penalty kills, the JDHS goal train would resume. Just after a two-on-none by Joseph Monsef and Cully Corrigan proved unsuccessful, junior Blake Bixby fired a shot near the blue line that tipped high into the air and over one of Tree’s shoulders for the second goal of the period.
Seconds after the ensuing center ice faceoff, Currigan scored on a low shot from the top-left circle. Junior Owen Squires capped the first period scoring on a 13:03 strike off a loose puck Tree didn’t cover up in time.
Squires’ goal and one that would follow two periods later by Tyler Weldon are the type of scrappy goals that often come with some hard pushes and shoves from the other team.
“That’s what you need guys to do — that selfless play like that,” JDHS assistant coach Matt Boline said.
Monsef, Corrigan, Dale and Erik Genitz all earned assists in the win. JDHS led Kenai in penalty time 8 minutes to 6.