West Anchorage goaltender Connor Batman suited up Friday evening for a nonconference prep hockey matchup on ice against the Kenai Kardinals.
All game long, however, he was getting pelted by his own Eagles teammates.
Kenai’s usual netminder, Ryan Williams, was out due to injury, which left the Kards in the rare situation of having to borrow a goalie from the other team. That’s where Batman — a backup for West behind starter Isaiah Saville — got his opportunity to take the ice in the white and red colors of Kenai, instead of the usual black and orange of West.
The switcheroo didn’t change the outcome for the defending 4A state champion Eagles, who swept to a 9-0 rout of Kenai at the Soldotna Sports Center. Because Kenai was forced to use a player from another team, the game will not count in the season standings.
Kenai’s game against Dimond on Saturday was canceled to allow the Lynx to depart to Anchorage early before road conditions deteriorated.
“I don’t think he felt any pressure,” said West coach Nathan Shasby about Batman facing his own team. “It was good for him to play, and I think he likes going up against our guys.”
Max Helgeson scored a hat trick to propel West to the win, while teammates Ray Harren collected two goals and Jacob Cummings had three assists and a goal.
Playing for Kenai for just the night, Batman was faced with a staggering 62 shots, stopping 53 of them. The Kenai offense, meanwhile, managed just three shots on goal for the night.
Kenai coach Michael Tilly said Williams was hurt in an unrelated incident outside of practice and could be gone for another week.
“If I was in the same position, we’d do the same thing,” Tilly said. “We knew what we were up against with West though.”
Tilly praised the efforts of Bailey Maxson and Matt Hagel.
Tilly added that Batman was not privy to the Kenai locker room, however, in between periods of play. It was enough of an advantage for the Eagles, who own just one loss all season, to play a depleted Kenai squad.
West came out firing on their own man, who stood tall until 3 minutes, 53 seconds, in, when Harren slipped a puck from the far edge of the right faceoff circle into the netting for the first goal of the night.
Batman held the Eagles to just two goals in the first period, after Cummings bumped the score to 2-0 with six minutes to play. Cummings got space near the crease and used a pair of quick touches to lift the puck up and over Batman’s shoulders for the goal.
Harren scored his second of the night early in the second period, and Tanner Edwards notched a power-play strike midway through the frame on a point-blank shot to make it 4-0. West then went wild, scoring four goals in the final 3:36 of the second period to increase to lead to 8-0. Helgeson owned three of those four to complete his hat trick.
Sawyer Courrier scored in the third period to finish off the offensive masterpiece.
West 7, Soldotna 1
Saturday, the Eagles dominated the Stars en route to a weekend sweep of Peninsula teams.
Seven different players scored for West, which notched three goals in each of the first two periods of play. Dmitry Hamm started things with a goal 2:38 into the game, then was followed by Max Helgeson and Chris Lottridge. Tanner Edwards, Alex Bardsley and Ray Harren scored in the second period to push the lead to 6-0.
Connor Batman, who stepped in as Kenai Central’s goalie Friday night in place of the injured Ryan Williams, got the win for West between the pipes by stopping 21 of 22 shots. Billy Yoder picked up the loss for SoHi by stopping 51 of 58 shots.
Matthew Daugherty scored SoHi’s lone goal in the third period with help from Corey Hanson.
Dimond 11, Soldotna 1
The bottom fell out in the third period of a previously competitive game for the Stars, as the Dimond Lynx scored seven third-period goals to blow out SoHi in a nonconference matchup Friday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
SoHi forward Cameron Knowlton scored a crucial goal with 8.7 seconds remaining in the second period to cut Dimond’s lead to 4-1 and give SoHi momentum heading into the second intermission between the two teams, but anything gained late in that frame was lost in the third.
“Obviously Dimond had the confidence to play their game (in the third period),” said Soldotna coach Derek Urban. “We just went away from our game.”
SoHi dropped to 6-10 overall with the loss, while Dimond improved to 10-2-2.
Cody Dearing and Blaine Orton led Dimond with hat tricks, Tanner Dey had a pair of goals and two assists and Tanner Rath had three assists and a goal. Dimond coach Dennis Sorenson said the team — playing in its first game back since the holiday break — gained more confidence as the contest went on.
“They were getting into their rhythm and getting better,” Sorenson said. “But I will say that SoHi’s goalie played well, and I know he does that all the time.”
Before the third period, SoHi goalie Billy Yoder had stopped 20 of 24 shots on goal. Overall, Yoder ended with 31 saves on 42 shots.
Dearing scored twice within a span of 15 seconds in the first period to give Dimond a 2-0 lead. The first came early on a Lynx power play, collecting a pass from a puck drop in the right faceoff circle and shelving the goal into the netting. Dearing then scored again soon after the resumption of play, finding an odd-man rush and crashing in on Yoder.
In the second period, SoHi outshot Dimond 10-9. In the dying seconds of the frame, Knowlton intercepted a Dimond pass in the neutral zone and skated on a 2-on-1 with teammate Levi Hensley, who gifted Knowlton a beautiful assist just shy of the crease and Knowlton delivered to the applause of the home crowd.
Urban said he thought Yoder had two standout periods, but once Dimond scored its first goal of the third period, things went south in a hurry.
“We became spectators,” Urban said. “We got away from what we do, and once we did that, Dimond had some great looks.”
Dimond was penalized early in the period to go on the penalty kill, but Orton managed to break free and score to put the Lynx up 5-1 with seven ticks left on the short-handed attempt.
Dimond scored four more times in a span of 1:38 midway through the third period to seal the win.
Eagle River 10, Homer 0
The Wolves dominated the Mariners en route to the nonconference victory Saturday afternoon in Eagle River.
Eagle River scored three times in the first period, added two more in the second, then completed the rout with five goals in the third frame.
Riley Swanson saved 23 of 33 shots on goal for Homer between the pipes.
Chugiak 3, Homer 0
The Mustangs scored a pair of third-period goals to seal a nonconference win over Homer Friday night in Chugiak.
Chugiak tallied an early goal in the first period, then held on for the win with two goals in the final frame.
Swanson stopped 31 of 34 shots on goal for Homer.
Eagles 7, Stars 1
West 3 3 1 —7
Soldotna 0 0 1 —1
1st period — 1. West, D. Hamm (R. Hamm), 2:38; 2. West, Helgeson (Mack), 7:40; 3. West, Lottridge (unassisted), 11:42. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
2nd period — 4. West, Edwards (Bruner, Bardsley), 2:38; 5. West, Bardsley (unassisted), 3:54; 6. West, Harren (Helgeson), 4:32. Penalties — West 4 for 8:00; Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
3rd period — 7. West, Fair (unassisted), 3:07; 8. Soldotna, Daugherty (Hanson), 5:57. Penalties — West 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 6 for 12:00.
Goalies — Soldotna, Yoder (58 shots, 51 saves); West, Batman (22 shots, 21 saves).
Shots on goal — Soldotna 5-12-5—22; West 23-17-18—58.
Eagles 9, Kardinals 0
West 2 6 1 —9
Kenai 0 0 0 —0
1st period — 1. West, Harren (unassisted), 3:53; 2. West, Cummings (Helgeson), 9:02. Penalties — Kenai 1 for 2:00.
2nd period — 3. West, Harren (Cummings), 4:52; 4. West, Edwards (Bardsley), pp, 7:16; 5. West, Helgeson (Edwards, Bardsley), pp, 11:24; 6. West, Hamm (Courrier, Hamm), 11:32; 7. West, Helgeson (Cummings, Mack), 13:16; 8. West, Helgeson (Mack, Cummings), 13:49. Penalties — Kenai 3 for 6:00; West 1 for 2:00.
3rd period — 9. West, Courrier (Fair, Fisher), 6:48. Penalties — West 1 for 2:00.
Goalies — Kenai, Batman (62 shots, 53 saves); West, Saville (3 shots, 3 saves).
Shots on goal — Kenai 1-1-1—3; West 24-23-15—62.
Lynx 11, Stars 1
Dimond 2 2 7 —11
Soldotna 0 1 0 —1
1st period — 1. Dimond, Dearing (Rath), pp, 8:28; 2. Dimond, Dearing (Rath, Doscher), 8:43. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
2nd period — 3. Dimond, Rath (Egrass), :46; 4. Dimond, Orton (Dey, Perius), 11:52; 5. Soldotna, Knowlton (Hensley, Witthus), 14:52. Penalties — Dimond 1 for 2:00.
3rd period — 6. Dimond, Orton (unassisted), sh, 2:06; 7. Dimond, Bernsten (Dearing, Rath), 5:55; 8. Dimond, Dearing (unassisted), 6:06; 9. Dimond, Perius (Stevens, Dey), 7:07; 10. Dimond, Dey (Knighter, Doscher), 7:33; 11. Dimond, Dey (Orton, Mitchell), 11:52; 12. Dimond, Orton (Gardeline), 13:17. Penalties — Soldotna 2 for 4:00; Dimond 2 for 4:00.
Goalies — Soldotna, Yoder (42 shots, 31 saves); Dimond, Lewis (21 shots, 20 saves).