WASILLA — The Soldotna Stars rallied to force overtime, but Wasilla prevailed.
In a rematch of last year’s North Star Conference championship game, Russell Harren scored the game-winning goal late in the extra period to lead Wasilla to a 4-3 overtime victory over Soldotna at the Brett Memorial Ice Arena in Wasilla on Thursday.
Soldotna freshman goalie Billy Yoder made several spectacular saves late in the game, holding up under the pressure of a furious scramble, but the Warriors finally broke through with 2:33 left in the eight-minute overtime period, getting the game-winner from Harren. Larsen Tubbs set up the overtime winner that helped Wasilla improve to 1-1-1 in North Star Conference play.
Yoder ended with 31 saves on 35 shots, but Soldotna still ended up dropping to 5-3 overall.
Wasilla went up 2-0 early in the second period. Garrett Conroy scored with 22 seconds left in the first period to break the scoreless tie. Luke Schruf tallied a score 32 seconds into the second period to give Wasilla the lead.
However, Toma Johnson scored on an assist from Ethan Brown with 5:59 left in the frame to cut the deficit back down to one.
Wasilla then went up 3-1, but with 7:49 left in the third, Justice Miller, on an assist from Cameron Knowlton, cut the gap to 3-2.
With 1:29 left in the game, Billy Yoder saved a penalty shot to keep it 3-2. Then with 1:20 left on the clock, Clayton Longfellow scored the tying goal just as Wasilla was getting to full strength.
Wasilla controlled the overtime period, sending six shots at Yoder, while SoHi managed only one shot.
Wasilla outshot Soldotna 35-18 in the win. Zach Curry earned the win for the Warriors in net, stopping 15 shots.
Soldotna’s three-day weekend in the Valley continues with a match against Palmer Friday at 7 p.m. at the MTA Events Center. Wasilla hosts Kenai Friday at 7 at the Brett.
Colony 4, Kenai 0
WASILLA – Despite a stellar effort from Kenai netminder Nate O’Lena, Colony came away with a 4-0 win over the Kards on Thursday night at the Menard Sports Center in Wasilla.
O’Lena finished with 40 saves in the Kenai loss. Colony outshot Kenai 44-5 in the win. Isaac Vincent led the Knights with a pair of goals. Jacob Link and Josh Boyer also scored for Colony, which improved to 1-0-1 in North Star Conference play.
Thanks in part to O’Lena, the game was scoreless through the first period, despite three power-play opportunities for the Knights. Colony also had a five-on-three advantage for a span of 1:18 midway through the period.
Vincent gave his team a quick lead in the second period. The forward scored 16 seconds into the middle frame. Link and Boyer also scored in the second period. Vincent added his second goal early in the third.
Homer 2, Palmer 0
PALMER – The Homer Mariners scored a 2-0 win over the Palmer Moose Thursday at the MTA Events Center in Palmer.
Homer tallied a power-play goal and an empty-netter.
Clarion reporters Joey Klecka and Jeff Helminiak contributed to this story.
Warriors 4, Soldotna 3 OT
Wasilla 1 1 1 1 —4
Soldotna 0 1 2 0 —3
First period – 1. Wasilla, Conroy (Schruf, Matson) 0:22.
Second period – 2. Wasilla, Schruf (Conroy) 14:28; 3. Soldotna, Johnson (Brown, Longfellow) 5:39.
Third period – 4. Wasilla, Marks (unassisted) 12:40; 5. Soldotna, Miller (Nelson) 7:49; 6. Soldotna – Longfellow (Miller) 1:20.
Overtime – 7. Wasilla, Harren (Tubbs) 2:30.
Shots on goal: Soldotna 5-4-8-1—18, Wasilla 9-9-14-3–35; Saves: Soldotna- Yoder 8-9-12-2—31; Wasilla- Curry 5-3-6-1—15.