Mariners hockey travelled to play Chugiak and Eagle River in non-conference games on Jan. 8 and 9. Though both games were losses, Coach John Carlin and the players agreed both games were growing experiences for the team.
“We got everybody off the beach because I wanted every kid to be hot and sweaty and the end of it,” Carlin said.
Friday’s game against Chugiak saw the Mariners keep up with the team, which gave the players more confidence for games in their own conference. Chugiak tallied an early goal in the first period, then held on for the win with two goals in the final frame, according to the Peninsula Clarion. Junior goalie Riley Swanson stopped 31 of 34 shots on goal for Homer.
“Playing Chugiak, a lot of the Anchorage teams play at a higher skill level and they’re a lot faster. So seeing how we, we didn’t win necessarily but we stayed with them, so I think now back in our conference we know that we can beat any team and play with them,” said junior defensive Wyatt Huffman.
Eagle River scored three times in the first period, added two more in the second, then completed the rout with five goals in the third frame, according to the Peninsula Clarion. Swanson saved 23 of 33 shots on goal for Homer between the pipes. The loss against Eagle River was a little more frustrating for the team, but they are brushing it off and are focusing on the week to come.
“We don’t match up against Eagle River for some reason. They got our number. But it was nice to go up there and play them,” Carlin said.
Looking forward to the conference games in the coming week, the Mariners have a chance at making the regional finals if they win two more conference games, said junior offense player Garrett Butcher.
“I feel we’re coming back together as a team a little better than we were. We’re taking the games a little more seriously it seems like now. Last game just kind of got away from us, they’re a solid team and we’re just not there mentally prepared. I feel we’re definitely making steps toward where we need to be,” Butcher said. “It’s really anyone’s game when it comes to regions, pretty even conference and if we play to our full potential we could easily make a state run.”
Anna Frost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org