The Homer hockey team skated over fellow Railbelt Conference team Juneau-Douglas over the weekend, winning 8-0 Friday and 7-0 Saturday at the Kevin Bell Arena.
The Mariners have struggled this season with coming out strong in the first period of games, something head coach Steve Nevak acknowledged Friday. But, he said, the team is starting to improve in that regard. He called Friday’s victory against the Crimson Bears the Mariners’ first “complete game” so far this season.
“Our message was, we come out hard,” Nevak said. “Dump the puck, get the puck below their goal line, and go to work. And they did absolutely everything we asked them to do.”
Homer was able to get a goal in with about two minutes left in the first period, scored by Phinny Weston with an assist from Ethan Pitzman. The second period saw a goal from Alden Ross assisted by Isaiah Nevak, an unassisted goal by Casey Oits just 28 seconds later.
Weston scored again in the second period assisted by Ross, followed by a goal from Ross assisted by Pitzman and another goal from Weston, assisted by Kazden Stineff.
Another goal from Weston about five minutes into the third period, assisted by Shafford, and a goal from freshman Matfey Reutov assisted by Austin Shafford rounded out the game.
Bears goaltenders Cody Mitchell and Dawson Hickok shared the goal to stop 32 of Homer’s 40 total shots, while Homer’s Keegan Strong made 10 saves to complete the shutout.
Juneau-Douglas coach Luke Adams said Friday’s game against Homer was his team’s first “really, really tough test.” Having lost 13 seniors since last season, he’s working with a young team.
“We have a lot of new faces playing,” Adams said. “… So we learned a lot about ourselves and about another conference opponent, and we’re going to come back tomorrow and try to improve, just like every day.”
On Saturday, Homer again beat the Bears 7-0, with Strong making 11 saves in the shutout. Between the two of them, Mitchell and Hickok made 25 saves for Juneau out of 32 shots.
For Homer, Ross had a hat trick, while Isaiah Nevak contributed two goals. Weston and Gilliland also scored for the Mariners — Weston on a penalty shot.
Homer will next play Bartlett High School at 4 p.m. this Friday and Service High School at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, both at the Ben Boeke Ice Arena in Anchorage.