Homer’s Ethan Pitzman and Dimond’s Drake Reid connect over the puck during a Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 game in the 2020 ASAA First National Cup Division I Hockey State Championship at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer’s Ethan Pitzman and Dimond’s Drake Reid connect over the puck during a Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 game in the 2020 ASAA First National Cup Division I Hockey State Championship at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer goes 0-2 at DI state hockey championship

Fresh off a Division II state hockey championship title — the first in Homer High School history — the Homer Mariners got to see some ice time last weekend in the 2020 ASAA First National Cup Division I Hockey State Championship at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla.

The Mariners went 0-2 before being eliminated on Friday. They lost 4-2 against South Anchorage on Thursday and 8-2 on Friday against Dimond.

After Friday’s game, head coach Steve Nevak said he thought the players were a bit intimidated at first by their large-school opponents this weekend.

“Once we settled in though, I think we did really, really well,” he said.

Dimond pulled out ahead early with two goals in the first period — one from Tyler Christensen and another from Henry Minich. The Mariners rallied in the second period to tie the game up 2-2. Ethan Pitzman with an assist from Tyler Gilliland and Isaiah Nevak, and Phinny Weston assisted by Gilliland and Kazden Stineff, both scored within a minute 30 seconds of each other.

The comeback was short lived, however, as Dimond stormed ahead with another six goals — two in the second period and another four in the third. For Dimond, goals were netted by Brenden Anaruk, Max Hickel, Landen Reed, Brennon Lubken, Teague Porter and Tanner Laudon.

Nevak pointed to two five-minute penalties that kept Dimond in a power play position over the Mariners as a major issue in the game.

“When you get into penalty trouble against a team like Dimond — two five-minute majors? No team — (Division) I, (Division) II — is going to come back from that,” he said. “You can’t put yourself in that position.”

Nevak spoke about the fact that the pressure was off for the Mariners entering the DI tournament, and pointed out that it possibly didn’t help their state of mind during the games.

“Honestly in that Division II state (championship) you saw a lot more passion … a lot more, pretty much everything out of the guys,” Nevak said. “And I think it kind of worked against us to be honest. It was almost like we were just happy to be here, and once the kids kind of felt that they could compete, that’s when you saw the moments that were like oh, there we are.”

Nevak said he’s proud of what the Mariners accomplished this season.

“No one can take it away from us that we were (Division) II state champs,” he said. “… That’s something to be proud about and that’s something we talked about in the locker room after (Friday’s) game. You know, hold their heads high because Homer’s proud of them, I know the peninsula teams are proud of them, we’re proud of them. And you know they did something … never accomplished before and so that’s our takeaway.”

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Homer’s Bergen Knutson (left) and Toby Nevak (right) try to fend off Dimond’s Kaden Daniels during a Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 game at the 2020 ASAA First National Cup Division I Hockey State Championship at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer’s Bergen Knutson (left) and Toby Nevak (right) try to fend off Dimond’s Kaden Daniels during a Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 game at the 2020 ASAA First National Cup Division I Hockey State Championship at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Dimond’s Tyler Christiansen skates around Homer’s Toby Nevak during a Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 game at the 2020 ASAA First National Cup Division I Hockey State Championship at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Dimond’s Tyler Christiansen skates around Homer’s Toby Nevak during a Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 game at the 2020 ASAA First National Cup Division I Hockey State Championship at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

More in Sports

Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion
Sam Spencer, Erik Route and Josiah Brown, all of Cooper Landing, near the finish of Sunday’s 20-kilometer classic race at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna.
Tour of Tsalteshi sees record turnout

In its fourth year at the trail system just outside of Soldotna, the Tour had record turnout of 136 finishers.

Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS 
A great gray owl perches in an aspen tree on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Refuge notebook: Winter is the season for finding great gray owls

Winter can be a fantastic time to observe owls. Owls can be… Continue reading

The Homer Mariner hockey team celebrates back to back Division II state hockey championship wins, after defeating the Palmer Moose 3-2 in overtime Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Tim Rockey/Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman)
Mariners defend Division II state hockey title

Homer avenges 2019 loss by topping Palmer 2-3 in overtime

Salt marshes are important food sources for brown bears. As we see an earlier start to the growing season or increased plant growth, bears will likely benefit from them even more. (Photo by Michael Hannam/NPS)
Refuge Notebook: Could bears benefit from changing coastal marshes?

Flying over the Cook Inlet coast, you can look down and see… Continue reading

A day on Kachemak Bay. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Water taxi talking

Reporters spend a lot of time talking to people: people they don’t… Continue reading

Homer's Hannah Hatfield looks for a teammate to pass to under pressure from Nikiski's Avery White during a Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 basketball game at the Alice Witte Gymnasium in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homer hoops sweep Nikiski; boys fall to Seward

Homer girls sail through Thursday and Saturday games

Homer's Zoe Stonorov skies the girls 5-kilometer classic race on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 at the Lookout Mountain Trails near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Debbie Delker)
Sports in brief

General announcements All spectators must be on the player guest list. Two… Continue reading

Phil Basargin 5-year-old Maxim Basargin around the ice Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021 during the Skate the Lake event on Beluga Lake in Homer, Alaska. The free skating event was hosted for the community by the Homer Hockey Association. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homerites take to the lake in skate event

Homer Hockey Association hosted Skate the Lake for the community

A red-breasted nuthatch looks over its shoulder between bites of suet in a hanging-cage style feeder. (Photo by Todd Eskelin/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Social distancing is not just for humans

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that hits our news feeds often.… Continue reading

Most Read