Homer’s Tyler Gilliland controls the puck while four Soldotna High School skaters close in on him during a Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, game at the Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. The game, which the Stars won 4-0, was a fundraiser to raise money for the Big Lake Rec Center in the Mat-Su Valley, which was damaged by the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer’s Tyler Gilliland controls the puck while four Soldotna High School skaters close in on him during a Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, game at the Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. The game, which the Stars won 4-0, was a fundraiser to raise money for the Big Lake Rec Center in the Mat-Su Valley, which was damaged by the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Soldotna hockey tops Homer, but Big Lake Rec Center is the winner

When it came to Big Lake Lions Community Rec Center, the Soldotna hockey program was in a giving mood Friday at the Kevin Bell Arena in Homer. When it came to goals, though, the Stars were downright stingy.

The Stars topped Homer 4-0 in a Railbelt Conference game that was put together to raise money for the Big Lake Rec Center.

Soldotna and Homer had been scheduled to play this game Tuesday, but the Nov. 30 earthquake changed that.

The earthquake canceled a tournament for the Stars that was to take place at the Big Lake Rec Center and also ended up scratching a pair of games Homer was supposed to play this weekend in Anchorage.

Instead, the booster clubs from the two programs got together and decided to move up the game to Friday. Ice would be donated, as would the time of the referees. The gate would go to the Big Lake Rec Center, which is doing fundraising on gofundme.com.

The Friday game raised more than $1,000 for the center. Not including the Soldotna-Homer donation, the center had raised about $3,500 of its $75,000 goal as of Friday night.

“Hockey is like one big family,” Homer coach Steve Nevak told the Homer News. “… We have a rink, especially in our own division, that gets damaged where the kids can’t play, you know, that affects everyone.”

Nevak gave credit to everyone involved in making the game together.

“I like the overall message that it sends,” Nevak told the Homer News. “Because these kids are going to grow up and hopefully have kids of their own that play hockey, and it just continues that trend of what the hockey community and culture is all about.”

When it came to the game, though, Nevak was not nearly has happy.

“They (Soldotna) wanted every single puck,” Nevak told the Homer News. “They had more urgency. They played hockey. And for some reason, we sat back and we just got in this downward spiral between periods. … I just don’t know.”

Homer outshot Soldotna 29-23, but Josh Tree saved all 29 for the Stars while Hunter Warren stopped 19 for the Mariners.

Journey Miller, Trent Powell, Galen Brantley III and Wyatt Medcoff all scored for the Stars.

Soldotna coach Indy Walton said he has developed a healthy respect for the Homer program and its players while coaching youth hockey in the area. Walton said Homer lost some key players from last season, while Soldotna didn’t.

The Stars have been able to build and build a successful on-ice system.

“A big part of our game that we’ve been working on is the forecheck and keeping pressure on them,” Walton told the Homer News. “And that’s something Homer hasn’t seen from us because, you know, we’ve been building the team.”

Friday

Stars 4, Mariners 0

Soldotna 0 3 1 — 4

Homer 0 0 0 — 0

First period — none. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00; Homer 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 1. Soldotna, Miller (Haakenson), 8:57; 2. Soldotna, Powell (un.), 13:06; 3. Soldotna, Brantley III (Walton, Kline), 14:07. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2:00.

Third period — 4. Soldotna, Medcoff (A. Montague, Urban), 10:37. Penalties — Soldotna 3 for 6:00; Homer 3 for 6:00.

Shots on goal — Soldotna 6-8-9—23; Homer 12-9-8—29.

Goalies — Soldotna, Tree (29 shots, 29 saves); Homer, Warren (23 shots, 19 saves).

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