The Homer hockey team showed they mean business this season when they claimed the top spot at the End of the Road Shootout Tournament Nov. 16-18 at the Kevin Bell Arena.
The Mariners won the round-robin tournament 3-0, beating Houston 5-2, defeating Bartlett 5-2, and closing out Soldotna 10-3.
Homer’s Isaiah Nevak scored four of the 10 goals against the Stars during their game Saturday. Soldotna and Houston both finished 1-1-1 at the tournament, with Houston taking second place on goals allowed.
“The first game, we had a great two first periods,” said coach Chance Rockett. “We were up 4-1 going into the third, and we ended up winning 5-2. So the third period was a little subpar, you know, we expected a little more, but overall it was a great effort.”
Against Bartlett, Rockett said the team could have done better. His players already defeated Bartlett 11-2 earlier this season — he called their 5-2 win at the tournament “unacceptable.”
The first period of the Mariners’ game against SoHi on Saturday, however, was “outstanding,” he said. The team came out 4-1 in the first quarter.
“We came out playing like we should,” Rockett said. “We knew we had an opportunity to win the championship today, so we wanted to put our best foot forward there.”
In the game’s second quarter, the Stars scored two goals while Homer scored none.
“I think the greatest thing is when SoHi started running around with the high hits, we kept our head and we kept our hands down,” Rockett said. “And that’s the best thing about this team, you know, the sportsmanship is great, the hustling is great … and they’re able to keep their heads on straight.”
Even for high school hockey, scoring 10 or 11 goals in one game is extremely high, Rockett said.
“We are sometimes on the other side of that, more often than not,” he said. “So, you know, to be able to beat teams you should beat with authority like that, especially (since) that’s our first game against a division opponent in our same conference … we wanted to make a statement to the rest of the league.”
Rockett said the team is made up of a balanced mix this year, with five seniors and a large group of sophomores making up the core of the team.
His goals for the season are for the team to finish in the top two for the league, and to make it to a conference championship game.
The team now has a break until they face off against Wasilla at home at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30.
They play through the weekend, also at home, against Colony High School and Palmer on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2, respectively.
For full results from the tournament, see the weekly sports highlights.