The Soldotna hockey team lost to Wasilla 6-2 on Friday and Colony 7-2 on Saturday in North Star Conference hockey action at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
The Stars are now 1-8-2 overall and 0-3-1 in the league, but head coach Indy Walton remains satisfied with the progress of the young team, which had five freshmen and no seniors in the lineup Friday.
“We’ve been making progress since the beginning of the season, not just in hockey but in other things as well,” Walton said. “Our team chemistry is coming together.”
Friday, Porter Schachle had two goals and an assist and Slayte Wohlers added two goals to lift Wasilla.
Walton gave the Warriors, who also received scores from Zachary Roush and Langston Bouma, credit. He said Wasilla is fast team that makes skilled passes. The Warriors led 3-0 en route to the victory.
Walton said a chunk of the goals came from what he calls the 10-foot rule. He said when the Stars get the puck 10 feet from leaving the defensive zone, that puck must clear the zone or odd-man rushes occur. Similar danger lurks when SoHi has the puck 10 feet from entering an opponent’s zone and doesn’t get the puck deep.
“There were a couple of times we didn’t follow that rule and that created scoring opportunities they capitalized on,” Walton said. “It could have been a close game.”
Thanks to a second-period goal by freshman Jose Montague, Soldotna entered the third period down 5-1.
But Walton and assistant Galen Brantley Jr. stressed to the young team to not let down in the third period. The coaches were encouraged the Stars were winning the period on a power-play goal by Wyatt Medcoff until a power-play strike by Schachle with just 39 seconds left.
Walton said Medcoff was rewarded for his second effort all night. Defensemen Lucas Kline, Levi Benner and JD Schmelzenbach had to play every other shift, as did center Galen Brantley III and Braxton Urban.
The SoHi coach added McKenzie Powell did a great job in net, amassing 25 saves. Sean Carney made 14 for the Warriors.
Saturday, Walton said his team not only had to play for a third time in three days, but had to face a Colony squad with 22 juniors and seniors on the roster.
“Colony is one of the best teams in the state,” Walton wrote in a text message.
The coach got everybody playing time and the team remained disciplined, not committing any penalties.
Jack Holman had a hat trick in the first period to lead the Knights. Cooper Smith added a pair of goals, while Zach Monaco and Jake Hessinger also scored.
For Soldotna, Galen Brantley III lit the lamp twice. Walton again credited Medcoff for his hard work, this time back-checking.
Corbin Wirz had six saves on nine shots for SoHi, while Powell had 13 saves on 17 shots. For Colony, Cole Doss had eight saves on 10 shots.
Warriors 6, Stars 2
Wasilla 2 3 1 — 6
Soldotna 0 1 1 — 2
First period — 1. Wasilla, Roush (un.), 6:59; 2. Wasilla, Wohlers (Masterson), 8:07. Penalties — Wasilla 1 for 2:00; Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 3. Wasilla, P. Schachle (un.), 3:18; 4. Soldotna, J. Montague (Kline), 5:07; 5. Wasilla, Bouma (P. Schachle), 13:16; 6. Wasilla, Wohlers (Bouma, Holler), 13:53. Penalties — Wasilla 1 for 2:00.
Third period — 7. Soldotna, Medcoff (A. Montague), 11:10; 8. Wasilla, P. Schachle (Wiltfong), 14:21. Penalties — Wasilla 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal — Wasilla 8-11-12—31; Soldotna 5-7-4—16.
Goalies — Wasilla, Carney (16 shots, 14 saves); Soldotna, Powell (31 shots, 25 saves).
Power plays — Wasilla 1 for 3; Soldotna 1 for 4.
Knights 7, Stars 2
Colony 4 1 2 — 7
Soldotna 1 1 0 — 2
First period — 1. Colony, Holman (Korynta, Monaco), 0:27; 2. Colony, Smith (Diltz), 6:44; 3. Soldotna, Brantley III (A. Montague, J. Montague), 10:08; 4. Colony, Holman (Korynta, Fike), 10:38; 5. Colony, Holman (Korynta, Fike), 11:30. Penalties — Colony 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 6. Colony, Monaco (Hessinger), 8:33; 7. Soldotna, Brantley III (Medcoff, Skolnick), 10:45. Penalties — Colony 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 8. Colony, Smith (Diltz), 7:55; 9. Colony, Hessinger (Diltz), 12:02. Penalties — Colony 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal — Colony 12-6-8—26; Soldotna 3-3-4—10.