The Homer hockey team swept fellow Railbelt Conference team Juneau-Douglas, winning 8-0 on Friday and 7-0 on Saturday at the Kevin Bell Arena.
The Mariners have struggled this season with coming out strong in the first period of games, something head coach Steve Nevak acknowledged Friday. But, he said, the team is starting to improve in that regard. He called Friday’s victory against Juneau-Douglas the Mariners’ first “complete game” so far this season.
“Our message was, we come out hard,” Nevak said. “Dump the puck, get the puck below their goal line, and go to work. And they did absolutely everything we asked them to do.”
Homer was able to get a goal in with about two minutes left in the first period, scored by Phinny Weston with an assist from Ethan Pitzman. The second period saw a goal from Alden Ross assisted by Isaiah Nevak, and an unassisted goal by Casey Oits just 28 seconds later.
Weston scored again in the second period assisted by Ross, followed by a goal from Ross assisted by Pitzman and another goal from Weston, assisted by Kazden Stineff.
Another goal from Weston about five minutes into the third period, assisted by Shafford, and a goal from freshman Matfey Reutov, assisted by Austin Shafford, rounded out the game.
Bears goaltenders Cody Mitchell and Dawson Hickok shared the goal to stop 32 of Homer’s 40 total shots, while Homer’s Keegan Strong made 10 saves to complete the shutout.
Juneau-Douglas coach Luke Adams said Friday’s game against Homer was his team’s first “really, really tough test.” Having lost 13 seniors since last season, he’s working with a young team.
“We have a lot of new faces playing,” Adams said Friday. “… So we learned a lot about ourselves and about another conference opponent, and we’re going to come back tomorrow and try to improve, just like every day.”
Saturday, the Mariners toppled the Crimson Bears 7-0, with Strong getting the shutout on 11 saves.
Ross bagged a hat trick for the Mariners, while Isaiah Nevak had a pair of goals. Also finding the back of the net for Homer were Phinny Weston on a penalty shot and Isaiah Nevak.
West 5, Soldotna 0
The host Eagles notched a nonconference victory over the Stars on Friday.
Ian Keim had two goals and two assists to pace the Eagles, while Chase Solberg also added two goals and an assist. Matt Patchin had the other goal for West.
Will Simpson shut the Stars out on 15 shots, while Corbin Wirz stopped 22 for Soldotna.
South 4, Soldotna 2
The visiting Stars wrapped up a period of three road games in three days by hanging with the Wolverines on Saturday.
Soldotna coach Indy Walton said in a text that the Wolverines are the No. 2 big-schools team in the state for a reason. Walton wrote the Wolverines have a ton of speed and great goaltending.
South was not able to manage the game-winner until 4 minutes, 51 seconds, remained in the game, when Logan Orr scored. A little over two minutes later, Colten Gerken scored for South to finally put some distance on the Stars.
Soldotna started strong, with Wyatt Medcoff, assisted by Gavin Haakenson, scoring the lone goal of the first period.
South came back with goals by Hayden Fox and Blair Coomer in the second period to lead 2-1 heading to the third.
With 7:19 left in the game, Dave Aley tied it on assists from Dylan Walton and Trent Powell.
Corbin Wirz had 28 saves for the Stars, while Hannah Hogenson stopped 12 for the Wolverines.
Reach Megan Pacer at email@example.com. Clarion staff contributed the reports for Soldotna and the Saturday Homer game.
Eagles 5, Stars 0
Soldotna 0 0 0 — 0
West 1 0 4 — 5
First period — 1. West, Keim (Patchin, Opinsky), sh, 5:27. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00; West 1 for 2:00.
Second period — none. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Third period — 2. West, Patchin (Solberg, Keim), 0:53; 3. West, Solberg (Keim, Patchin), 5:12; 4. West, Keim (Pickett), pp, 7:12; 5. West, Solberg (Opinsky), 14:19. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Soldotna 6-3-6—15; West 6-8-13—27.
Goalies — Soldotna, Wirz (27 shots, 22 saves); West, Simpson (15 shots, 15 saves).
Mariners 7, Juneau 0
Juneau 0 0 0 — 0
Homer 2 3 2 — 7
First period — 1. Homer, Weston (penalty shot), 7:04; 2. Homer, I. Nevak (T. Nevak, Weston), 11:54. Penalties — Juneau 4 for 6:00; Homer 3 for 14:00.
Second period — 3. Homer, Ross (Shafford), 5:21; 4. Homer, Gilliland (I. Nevak), n/a; 5. Homer, Ross (I. Nevak, Gilliland), 11:29. Penalties — Juneau 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 6. Homer, Ross (Gilliland, E. Pitzman), 4:44; 7. Homer, I. Nevak (E. Pitzman), 9:11. Penalties — Juneau 3 for 6:00; Homer 5 for 10:00.
Shots on goal — Juneau 6-2-3—11; Homer 13-13-6—32.
Goalies — Juneau, Mitchell, Hickok (32 shots, 25 saves); Homer, Strong (11 shots, 11 saves).
Wolverines 4, Stars 2
Soldotna 1 0 1 — 2
South 0 2 2 — 4
First period — 1. Soldotna, Medcoff (Haakenson), 3:22. Penalties — Soldotna 2 for 4:00; South 2 for 4:00.
Second period — 2. South, Fox (Gerken, Monahan), pp, 12:51; 3. South, Coomer (Donald, Maddox), 14:33. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Third period — 4. Soldotna, Aley (Walton, Powell), 7:41; 5. South, Orr (Flannery-Schutt, Gerken), 10:09; 6. South, Gerken (Orr), 11:18. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00; South 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Soldotna 5-6-3—14; South 8-14-10—32.