BIG LAKE — For the second time in less than a week, the Palmer Moose and Soldotna Stars finished 53 minutes of hockey with the score tied.
Rewind back to a Dec. 3 North Star Conference game at the MTA Events Center in Palmer. The conference rivals played a trio of 15-minute periods and an eight-minute overtime, but skated off the ice with a 3-3 draw.
Meeting again Thursday in the first round of the Big Lake Lions Classic, the Moose and Stars once again found themselves in a tie at the end of regulation and overtime. But unlike conference play, there are no ties in this tourney.
So Palmer and Soldotna had the chance to settle things in a shootout. And Soldotna freshman Galen Brantley III cashed in for his team.
Brantley III, who scored twice during regulation, notched the game-deciding goal in the shootout to lift the Stars to a 5-4 nonconference win over the Moose at the Big Lake Recreation Center.
Much like last week, Brantley III gave his team the late lead. But also like last week, another freshman came up big to allow Palmer to force overtime.
Thursday, with the Moose trailing 4-2 late, Jaron Ketterman scored twice in a 24-second span during the final two minutes of the third period to help send the game into overtime. Ketterman cut the score to 4-3 with 1:53 left in regulation, and added the game-tying goal with 1:29 left.
Senior Aaron Christiansen used an assist to help set up the game-tying score.
Earlier in the period, Brantley III scored twice to give the Stars the two-goal lead. His scores also came during a short span. The forward broke a 2-2 tie with a score at the 7:35 mark. He scored again with 6:48 left in the third.
Last week, Brantley III scored to give the Stars a 3-2 lead over the Moose, but Ketterman tied the score with only seven seconds left in regulation.
Parker Lockwood and Alex Montegue also scored for the Stars to help Soldotna move into the semifinal round, where it will face either Monroe Catholic or host Houston Friday at 5 p.m. in the semifinals. Lockwood opened the scoring to give Soldotna a 1-0 lead, and Montegue pushed SoHi’s advantage to a pair of scores with about five minutes left in the first.
Darien Wilson scored late in the first to cut Soldotna’s lead in half. Chase Rosenberg tied the game at 2, with a goal early in the second period.
Soldotna outshot Palmer 35-31 in the game, and a combined 17-9 in the third period and overtime. Cody Grogan made 31 saves for the Moose. Billy Yoder had 27 stops for the Stars.
With the loss, Palmer moves backward in the bracket and will play either Houston on Friday at 11 a.m. in the consolation semifinals. Monroe, 5-1 winners over Houston on Thursday, plays Soldotna in the semis at 5 p.m.
Earlier in the day, Bartlett held a brief lead. But that was before a barrage of Colony scoring.
After Bartlett’s Chris Bell gave the Golden Bears a 2-1 lead with less than five minutes left in the first period, Colony scored 14 unanswered goals en route to a 15-2 thrashing of Bartlett in the first game of the Big Lake Lions Classic.
Jake Kirsch and Cooper Smith scored four goals each for the Knights, who won their fifth straight game. Kirsch added three assists for a seven-point day. Jake Hessinger added two assists to his hat trick for a five-point game. Bryce Crosta, Tristan Avoletta and Alexander Fike also scored for Colony.
Wasilla followed in the tournament with an 11-1 drubbing of Kenai Central. The game marked the Northern Lights Conference rivals’ second meeting in less than a week. Last week, Wasilla scored a 13-2 NLC win over the Kards.
In Thursday’s nonleague game, Garrett Conroy used a hat trick to lead Wasilla to the win. Russell Harren and Alex Clark added two goals each. Justin Bayliffe, Alex Engan, Lucas Gudz and McKinley Larson also scored for the Warriors. Conroy and Harren finished with three assists each.
Levi Mese scored Kenai’s lone goal, which cut a Wasilla lead to 2-1 with 6:10 left in the first.
With the wins, Colony and Wasilla each advance to the semifinal round and will meet Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Big Lake. Kenai and Bartlett play at 2 p.m. in the consolation semis.
Soldotna 5, Palmer 4 SO
Big Lake Lions Classic
Thursday, Big Lake
First period — 1. Soldotna- Lockwood (Brown, Hanson) 10:45; 2. Soldotna- Montague (Miller) 5:31; 3. Palmer- Wilson (Ketterman) 1:33.
Second period — 4. Palmer- Rosenberg (Wilson) 11:10.
Third period — 5. Soldotna- Brantley (Witthus) 7:35; 6. Soldotna- Brantley (Hensley, J. Urban) 6:48; 7. Palmer- Ketterman (unassisted) 1:53; 8. Palmer- Ketterman (Christiansen) 1:29.
Overtime — no scoring.
Shootout — 9. Soldotna- Brantley
Shots on goal: Soldotna 9-9-17—35, Palmer 12-10-9—31.
Wasilla 11, Kenai 1
Big Lake Lions Classic
Thursday, Big Lake
First period — 1. Wasilla- Conroy (Engan) 13:37; 2. Wasilla- J. Bayliffe (Massie, Dollick) 10:31; 3. Kenai- Mese (Kilfoyle) 6:10; 4. Wasilla- Harren (unassisted) sh 3:39; 5. Wasilla- Harren (Conroy, Lutz) pp 0:56.
Second period — 6. Wasilla- Conroy (Engan) 7:31; 7. Wasilla- Engan (Conroy) 4:57.
Third period — 8. Wasilla- Clark (Harren, Abbott) 12:18; 9. Wasilla- Clark (Harren, Gudz) 9:03; 10. Wasilla- Conroy (unassisted) 7:56; 11. Wasilla- Gudz (Harren, Lutz) 6:39; 12. Wasilla- Larson (Conroy, Merrill) 5:44.
Shots on goal: Kenai 7-5-9—21, Wasilla 19-21-14—54; Saves: Kenai- Williams 15-19-9—43, Wasilla- Carney 6-5-9—20.