Tuesday’s 10-1 victory by Soldotna over rival Kenai in North Star Conference action at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex was similar to the first time the two squads met this season, with one crucial difference in the eyes of SoHi coach Derek Urban.
“We passed the puck more,” Urban said after his squad moved to 5-9 overall and 1-3 in the league.
When the squads met Nov. 7, Soldotna notched a 9-1 victory, with 55 shots to Kenai’s 19. Tuesday’s shot total was 41-17.
But with his team set to head into the Christmas break, Urban said that first Kenai game was like a lot of play in the first part of the season — too much individual stuff outside the systems.
“We made a point of telling them to pass the puck more coming into this game, and that’s reflected on the scoresheet,” Urban said.
Soldotna had 14 nongoalies on the scoresheet, and 13 of them made it into the scoring column.
Jace Urban led the way with a hat trick plus an assist, while Cameron Knowlton had three assists and a goal.
Others with multipoint games for SoHi were Ethan Brown with two goals and an assist, Calvin Hills and Corey Hanson with a goal and an assist, and Brady Hanson, Cody Nye and Cole Crandall with two assists apiece.
Also for the Stars, Ryan Moeglein and Keegan Wirz had goals and Braxton Urban, Gabe Wackler and Matthew Daugherty had assists.
Coach Urban said his squad definitely played its best team game of the season, with only a home loss to Palmer coming close.
“It showed when we play as a team, good things happen,” he said. “When we play as individuals, the results aren’t as good.”
Many of the 17 shots the Kardinals put on SoHi netminder Billy Yoder were of the tough variety. Yoder stood tall against those shots, but missed out on his first shutout of the season when Stephen Gelosa, assisted by Chris Hagel, scored on the power play with 1 minute, 20 seconds, left in the game. Gelosa slipped one past Yoder from the faceoff circle.
“He thought he had it and I thought he had it,” Urban said of Yoder. “It somehow got through there.”
Ryan Williams made 31 saves for the Kards, who play Homer on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the sports complex. The Stars travel to face the Mariners on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m.
Stars 10, Kardinals 1
Soldotna 3 4 3 —10
Kenai 0 0 1 —1
1st period — 1. Soldotna, Brown (un.), 0:51; 2. Soldotna, J. Urban (Hanson, Knowlton), 8:36; 3. Soldotna, Moeglein (Nye, Brown), 11:03. Penalties — Soldotna 3 for 14:00.
2nd period — 4. Soldotna, Knowlton (J. Urban, Nye), 3:20; 5. Soldotna, Wirz (B. Urban), 4:39; 6. Soldotna, J. Urban (Wackler, Knowlton), 5:50; 7. Soldotna, Hills (Daugherty, Hanson), 7:40. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00; Kenai 2 for 4:00.
3rd period — 8. Soldotna, J. Urban (Crandall, Hanson), 1:24; 9. Soldotna, Brown (Wirz, Knowlton), 6:11; 10. Soldotna, Hanson (Crandall), 11:25; 11. Kenai, Gelosa (Hagel), 13:40. Penalties — Soldotna 5 for 10:00; Kenai 4 for 11:00.
Shots on goal — Soldotna 12-14-15—41; Kenai 6-7-4—17.
Goalies — Soldotna, Yoder (17 shots, 16 saves), Powell (0 shots, 0 saves); Kenai, Williams (41 shots, 31 saves).