Homer hockey goes 2-1 at Kenai River Cup

Colony defeated Palmer 6-5 in overtime on Saturday at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility to win the first Kenai River Cup.

Both teams went into the game 2-0. Luke Holman scored in overtime to give the Knights the title.

The tournament, in its first year, was supposed to have eight teams and a championship bracket, but Delta and South were not able to make it.

With six teams, the tournament winner was determined on who had the best record over the three days.

Homer went 2-1 at the tournament to move its season record to 2-2 overall.

In the Colony-Palmer game Saturday, Colony grabbed a 2-1 lead after the first period. Aiden Finch got started on a hat trick for the Knights, and Holman also scored. Elijah Von Gunten scored for the Moose.

Palmer had it tied by the end of the second period at 4. Kinan Greco scored twice in the period for the Moose, while Von Gunten added a goal.

For Colony in the second period, Finch scored twice to complete his hat trick.

In the third, the Knights went up 5-4 when Isaac McKenzie scored with 4:53 left. Less than a minute later, Tavian Mukaabya tied it for Palmer.

Keagon O’Bryan saved 43 for the Moose, while Jamon O’Bryan saved 39 for the Knights.

Homer 4, Tri-Valley 1

Tri-Valley got on the board first Saturday when Cordell Randall scored with help from Mike Renshaw and Matthew Bohanan.

River Henry would have Homer up 2-1 by the end of the first period. He scored on assists from Berend Pearson and Seamus Hatton, and Makary Reutov and Pearson.

Homer then scored twice in the third period. Pearson scored on a Henry assist, and Clyde Clemens scored on an Henry assist.

Blaise Banks made 30 saves for Homer, while Elijah Graham stopped 29 for Tri-Valley.

Kodiak 5, Kenai 2

The Bears scored a big Saturday victory for the young program.

Both teams went into the game 0-2 at the tournament, but Kodiak beat Kenai for the first time in the program’s three-year history.

“This is huge,” Kodiak head coach John Glover said. “I think we competed in the other games and I think we had a really good chance to win the other games.

“We knew Kenai was going to be really stiff, having lost to them substantially in the last two seasons. Made for a great game, though.”

With the fourth win in program history, Kodiak is 1-2 overall. Kenai falls to 2-5.

“Hats off to Kodiak. Great job,” Kenai Central head coach Scott Shelden said. “They played hard.

“They kept us in our zone with their forecheck and their goalie was awesome.”

Although the shots were even at 31 for the game, the Kardinals had a hard time establishing much presence in Kodiak’s defensive zone.

“We really talked about our D pinching in the O zone so that we could keep some momentum,” Glover said. “It was really just forechecking hard in the O zone to keep them out of our D zone.”

In the first period, Kodiak went up when Noah Schrof scored on assists from Dexter Smith and Ronan Hinman.

In the second period, freshman Cooper Smith scored unassisted for a 2-0 lead.

With 11:06 left in the game, Kenai cut it to 2-1 when Will Howard crossed into the zone and ripped in a shot from the high slot.

“He’s got a rocket for a shot,” Shelden said of Howard.

Kodiak answered just 14 seconds later when Rowan Wyszkowski scored on a Marek Wyszkowski assist.

Glover said when Kodiak gets a lead, the Bears have struggled to keep that lead.

“When they got it to one goal, just trying to calm the kids down and make sure we play our game was huge,” the coach said.

Howard struck again from the high slot with 4:13 to play, this time assisted by Vincent Steen.

Smith, just a freshman, answered with 1:47 to play. Miles Grimes and Dexter Smith assisted. John Paul Pogson then capped the game with an empty-netter.

“We’ve got a bunch of freshmen,” Glover said. “It’s not like we’re stocked with upperclassmen.

“So I’m proud of these kids because it’s their first high school games ever.”

Simon Lonheim made 29 saves for Kodiak, while Alek Angleton stopped 26 for the Kardinals.

Palmer 8, Homer 2

The Moose got the best of Homer on Friday.

Kinan Greco and Bradford Heard led Palmer with a pair of goals. Also scoring for the Moose were Brandon Horacek, Kellan Payne, Elijah Von Gunten and Frank Cooper.

For Homer, Clemens scored unassisted and Cody Thomas scored on assists from Kate Moseley and Zane Barth.

Mily Christman stopped nine for Palmer, while Banks had 47 saves for Homer.

Colony 5, Kenai 0

The Knights received a 14-save shutout from Jamon O’Bryan on Friday.

In the first period for Colony, Aiden Finch scored on assists from Jacob Seward-Janski and Matthew Ross, and Sawyer Kelpe scored on an assist from Ross.

In the second period, Logan Lofland scored with helpers from Finch and Seward-Janski.

In the third period, Finch scored with help from Luke Holman and Myles Diltz scored on a Holman assist.

Seanna Swanson stopped 30 for the Kardinals.

Tri-Valley 3, Kodiak 2, OT

The Friday game was decided with a three-on-three overtime period. Just 20 `seconds into the five-minute period, Owen Jusczak scored for Tri-Valley.

The game was tied after a period when Mike Renshaw scored for Tri-Valley and Ejler Durand scored for Kodiak.

Ronan Hinman scored in the second period for Kodiak, while Jack Wahlin scored in the third period for Tri-Valley.

Elijah Graham had 27 saves for Tri-Valley, while Garrett Wood stopped 23 for Kodiak.

Homer 4, Kodiak 0

All of Homer’s goals came in the second period in the Thursday game, and three of them came from Reutov.

Thomas, assisted by Reutov and Hatton started the scoring.

Then Reutov scored three times, once assisted by Moseley, once unassisted and once assisted by Hatton.

Banks stopped all 38 of the shots he saw for the shutout, while Simon Lonheim saved 17 for Kodiak.

Palmer 5, Kenai 3

Thursday, Palmer coach Rusty Belanger said he wasn’t sure if it was the road trip or overlooking Kenai, but he said the Kardinals and head coach Scott Shelden outcompeted his squad.

“I told Scott at the end of the game, ‘You guys have the grittiest team that we ever play against,’” Belanger said. “You bring that same attitude every time.

“Coaches that can bring that game in and game out — that’s a successful coach, win or lose. Scott should be proud of those boys tonight — they played well. We didn’t.”

Saturday, Palmer played Dimond to a 3-3 tie and Belanger said his squad didn’t get close to reaching that level against Kenai.

Shelden said with just five games in, he doesn’t have a great feel for his team yet, but there are some things he knows.

“I love our team,” he said. “We’ve got really good character kids. They’re not punching people after the whistle, everybody’s on time to practice and we treat each other like family.

“So I love the team. I don’t know how good we are yet.”

Palmer got on the board first, with Elijah Von Gunten, assisted by Sawyer Nelius, scoring short-handed with 4:38 left in the first period to get started on a hat trick.

Gavin Liles, assisted by Mason Vermette and Toby Petty, had things all square headed to the second period.

In the second period, Kenai committed four penalties to Palmer’s one and still exited with a 3-2 lead.

Von Gunten, assisted by Kaleb Von Gunten and Nelius, scored on the power play with 6:25 left in the second.

Kenai then took two more penalties and faced 22 seconds of five-on-three. Toby Petty totally turned the tables for the Kards by scoring short-handed just 10 seconds into the five-on-three.

“That changed the momentum,” Shelden said. “I think we’d given up a shorty prior to that, so it was nice to get one back.

“Toby Petty came up huge.”

Belanger said giving up a short-handed goal five-on-three is not acceptable.

“You just don’t do that,” he said. “The heart wasn’t there.”

Kenai carried that momentum into a power-play goal by Mason Vermette with 8 seconds left in the second period for a 3-2 lead.

“We almost got one more at the very end of the period,” Shelden said. “That carried us. We were pumped.

“Then whoever got the first goal in the third, I figured, was going to win this game.”

Unhappy with the way the second period ended, Belanger went from four lines to two to start the third period.

“We took the six kids that we thought were playing their game at the time, made those two lines and got the momentum back,” Belanger said. “Right toward the end, I think in the last five minutes, we started inserting players back in again.”

With 11:06 to play, Kaleb Von Gunten scored with help from Elijah Von Gunten and Bradford Heard. A little over a minute later, Heard scored with help from Kinan Greco and Elijah Von Gunten.

With 2:47 left, Elijah Von Gunten finished his hat trick on Greco and Ryan Martin assists.

Keagon O’Bryan stopped 16 pucks for the Moose, while Seanna Swanson had 35 saves for the Kards.

Shelden said Swanson was good in goal, and he also liked the way defenseman Sawyer Vann competed.

“Shots were 40-19,” Shelden said. “At some point, they just wear you down.”

Colony 6, Tri-Valley 1

The Knights received two goals from Aiden Finch in capturing the victory.

Also scoring for Colony were Cody Jorgensen, Issac McKenzie, Ethan McNulty and Jacob Seward-Jenski.

Assists went to Matthew Ross, Gavin Weiz, Luke Holman and Austin Fangmann.

Tess Jorgenson made six saves for Colony, not losing the shutout until 1:10 was left in the game.

Chris Graham, unassisted, ruined the clean sheet. Elijah Graham stopped 40 pucks for Tri-Valley.

Kenai Central’s Seanna Swanson scrambles to make a save while Cole Langham and Kylee Verkuilen hold off Palmer’s Elijah Von Gunten on Nov. 16, during Kenai River Cup play at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility in Kenai. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Seanna Swanson scrambles to make a save while Cole Langham and Kylee Verkuilen hold off Palmer’s Elijah Von Gunten on Nov. 16, during Kenai River Cup play at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility in Kenai. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)