Homer’s Tyler Gilliland controls the puck while four Soldotna High School skaters close in on him during a Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 game at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena in Homer, Alaska. The game, which the Stars won 4-0, was a fundraiser to raise money for the Big Lake Rec Center in the Mat-Su Valley, which was damaged by the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer’s Tyler Gilliland controls the puck while four Soldotna High School skaters close in on him during a Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 game at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena in Homer, Alaska. The game, which the Stars won 4-0, was a fundraiser to raise money for the Big Lake Rec Center in the Mat-Su Valley, which was damaged by the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

SoHi sweeps Homer in fundraiser game for damaged valley rink

The Big Lake Rec Center came out the big winner of Friday’s hockey match up between Soldotna and Homer.

After the Nov. 30 earthquake damaged the skating rink at the recreation center in the Mat-Su Valley, a tournament Soldotna’s team was scheduled to participate in there was canceled. The 7 magnitude quake also forced games in Anchorage the Mariners had on their schedule to be called off.

Homer head coach Steve Nevak said Houston hockey team’s coach called him and asked whether Homer would consider putting on a charity game to help raise money to fix the center. There is a GoFundMe account set up to raise money for the repairs.

Soldotna coach Indy Walton said he and Kenai’s coach were searching for ice to play on that weekend. Walton coordinated with the hockey community in Homer, and through the various efforts the ice time was donated and the date was set.

The Stars came out victorious in the Railbelt Conference game, skating over the Mariners for a score of 4-0. More importantly, more than $1,000 was raised in gate fees that will go straight to the Big Lake Rec Center.

“Hockey is like one big family,” Nevak said. “… We have a rink, especially in our own division, that gets damaged where the kids can’t play — you know, that affects everyone.”

Walton said it was nice that Friday’s game held a bigger meaning than winning or losing.

“We play at all the rinks,” he said. “And so we want to take care of all the rinks so hockey will keep growing and survive.”

“Indy’s a great guy and a great coach obviously, and so it was just the right thing to do,” Nevak continued. “… It took a lot of work to get it going because you just don’t throw an unscheduled high school game together.”

Homer had 29 shots on the goal to Soldotna’s 23, but Stars goaltender Josh Tree saved all 29 for the his team while Homer’s Hunter Warren stopped 19 for the Mariners.

Journey Miller, Trent Powell, Galen Brantley III and Wyatt Medcoff all scored goals for the Soldotna.

“They (Soldotna) wanted every single puck,” Nevak said. “They had more urgency. They played hockey. And for some reason, we sat back and we just got in this downward spiral in between periods. … I just don’t know.”

Walton said his team knew heading to Homer that it would be a “good contest.” He said players like Homer’s Lee Lowe and Ethan Pitzman, goaltender Hunter Warren and Isaiah Nevak on defense are all skaters the Stars keep their eye on.

“These are guys that we’ve studied and that we’re trying to stop, and it’s really hard,” he said. “It’s really difficult because they’re great players.”

“They lost some key players last year (and) that has a big impact,” Walton continued. “And we were fortunate that we didn’t. So it’s a different story from where it was last year.”

Walton said the system he’s been working with his players paid off in that game.

“A big part of our game that we’ve been working on is the forecheck and keeping the pressure on them,” he said. “And that’s something that Homer hasn’t seen from us because, you know, we’ve been building the team.”

“And we were fortunate that we didn’t,” he continued. “So it’s a different story from where it was last year.”

The hockey game raised more than $1,000 for the center. Not including the Soldotna-Homer donation, the center had raised about $3,500 of its $75,000 goal as of Dec. 7, the Peninsula Clarion reported.

Stars 4, Mariners 0

Soldotna 0, 3, 1 — 4

Homer 0, 0, 0 — 0

First period — none. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2 minutes; Homer 1 for 2 minutes.

Second period — 1. Soldotna, Miller (Haakenson), 8:57; 2. Soldotna, Powell (un.), 13:06; 3. Soldotna, Brantley III (Walton, Kline), 14:07. Penalties — Soldotna 1 for 2 minutes.

Third period — 4. Soldotna, Medcoff (A. Montague, Urban), 10:37. Penalties — Soldotna 3 for 6 minutes; Homer 3 for 6 minutes.

Shots on goal — Soldotna 6-8-9—23; Homer 12-9-8—29.

Goalies — Soldotna, Tree (29 shots, 29 saves); Homer, Warren (23 shots, 19 saves).

Homer’s Ethan Pitzman follows the puck along the wall during a Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 game against Soldotna High School at the Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. The Stars won the conference match-up 4-0. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer’s Ethan Pitzman follows the puck along the wall during a Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 game against Soldotna High School at the Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. The Stars won the conference match-up 4-0. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer’s Alden Ross battles for the puck with Soldotna High School’s Journey Miller during a Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 game at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena in Homer, Alaska. The game, which the Stars won 4-0, was a fundraiser to raise money for the Big Lake Rec Center in the Mat-Su Valley, which was damaged by the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer’s Alden Ross battles for the puck with Soldotna High School’s Journey Miller during a Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 game at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena in Homer, Alaska. The game, which the Stars won 4-0, was a fundraiser to raise money for the Big Lake Rec Center in the Mat-Su Valley, which was damaged by the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

More in Sports

Anthony Botello fishes for halibut off the coast of Homer, Alaska, on Sept. 6, 2021. (Camille Botello)
Out of the Office: Fish on!

I was pretty spoiled as a kid. The chest freezer in our… Continue reading

The Kenai Central High School women’s cross country team finishes in second place with 58 points at Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Boonstra repeats as Division II champ

Kenai Central’s Jayna Boonstra raced her way to another Division II state… Continue reading

Sports in brief

Volleyball Upcoming meets: TBA Thursday, Oct. 14: Varsity Volleyball at Juneau Tourney… Continue reading

Olympic gold medalist Lydia Jacoby waves to the crowd in Seward during her celebratory parade on Thursday, August 5, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Jacoby nabs two 2nds at World Cup

Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old senior at Seward High School, finished second in… Continue reading

tease
Homer, Soldotna notch volleyball wins

The host Homer volleyball notched a 3-0 Southcentral Conference victory over Nikiski… Continue reading

Nikiski's Savanna Stock receives serve against Anchorage Christian Schools on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Volleyball roundup: Homer beats GC and ACS

Homer 3, Grace Christian 0 The host Mariners quickly rebounded from their… Continue reading

Sports in brief

Cross Country Upcoming meets: Noon Saturday, Oct. 9: Cross Country at State… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Brooke Ashley and Homer's Nevaeh Diaz tangle at the net at Kenai Central High School on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai, Seward get 5-set wins

The host Kenai Central volleyball team pulled off a massive comeback to… Continue reading

Author Kathleen Sorensen (252) and the rest of the field take off from the starting line at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Tangled Up in Blue: Three halves

I ran my third Kenai River Half Marathon this weekend. I remember… Continue reading

Most Read