The Houston hockey team made a couple of early goals stand up in a 2-1 victory over Homer in the Division II state tournament at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla.
Houston, the No. 1 seed, ended the two-year reign of No. 5 Homer atop Division II hockey. The teams had split in the regular season.
The Hawks took a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game with scores on Homer goalie Keegan Strong, who had led his team to the past two state titles.
Domnin Efimov and Afanasy Efimov had the tallies.
After that, the Mariners and Strong settled in. Houston goalie Ari Burnside would not let in a goal until 5:59 was left in the game. Brock Barth scored on an assist from Hunter Green.
Homer then could not find the equalizer.
Burnside made 20 saves, while Strong stopped 24.
Houston will play No. 3 Palmer for the state title today at 6 p.m. Palmer defeated No. 7 North Pole 3-1 on Friday.
Homer plays North Pole for third place at 3 p.m. today
Earlier in the day, Soldotna and Kenai had both won to set up a showdown in the fourth-place game at noon today. The teams have gone to overtime in all three of their games this season, with each squad winning one and the other ending in a tie.
Soldotna 5, Monroe 2
The Stars, the No. 5 seed, toppled No. 8 Monroe Catholic to move to the fourth-place game.
Soldotna, which had lost an overtime game to Homer on Thursday, won the shot count 51-9. James Packee stopped 46 for the Rams, while Ayden See saved seven for the Stars.
The score was 1-1 after the first period. Dawson Lockwood, assisted by Dylan Dahlgren, scored for SoHi, while Dylan Bailey scored unassisted for Monroe.
Soldotna jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first two minutes of the second period. Silas Larsen, assisted by Dylan Dahlgren and Gehret Medcoff, and Marshall Deraeve, assisted by Daniel Heath and Boone Theiler, had the goals.
Miles Fowler cut it to 3-2, but Medcoff, assisted by Aiden Burcham, had it 4-2 headed to the third.
Larsen, assisted by Josh O’Lena, had the lone goal of the third period.
Kenai 7, Juneau 4
The Kardinals, the No. 2 seed, toppled Juneau, the No. 6 seed, Friday to move to the fourth-place game.
After a 1-0 loss to North Pole on Thursday in which the Kardinals could not buy a goal, Kenai broke loose with seven goals. Kenai wins all three games this season against Juneau, including one in overtime.
Daniel Shelden had two goals and three assists, Logan Mese had two goals and an assist, and Jacob Begich had two goals to lead the Kardinals.
The Kardinals jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period. The goals came from Mese, assisted by Shelden and Avery Martin; Ayden Spann, assisted by Shelden; and Begich, assisted by Josiah Petty and Landen Cialek.
Juneau cut it to 3-1 in the second on a strike by Kyla Bentz, but Shelden answered on assists by Landen Cialek and Caden Warren. Sam Bovitz then scored to cut it to 4-2 headed to the third.
Shelden, assisted by Mese, gave Kenai some breathing room with a goal with 10:39 to play. However, Kenai got into penalty trouble and Luke Bovitz and Sam Bovitz rattled off goals for the Crimson Bears to cut it to 5-4 with 8:30 left.
At that point, Kenai switched out backup goalie Kate Harris in favor of top goalie Carson Koppes. The two combined to make 16 saves on 20 shots, while Juneau’s Mason Sooter made 32 saves on 39 shots.
Kenai rallied to score the last two goals of the game. Mese scored with help from Shelden, then Begich found an empty net with 32 seconds left.
Hawks 2, Mariners 1
Homer 0 0 1 —1
Houston 2 0 0 —2
First period — 1. Houston, D. Efimov (Kuzmin),pp, 3:20; 2. Houston, A. Efimov (Reutov), 4:54. Penalties — Homer 1 for 2:00; Houston 1 for 2:00.
Second period — none. Penalties — Houston 3 for 6:00.
Third period — 3. Homer, Barth (Green), 9:01. Penalties — none.
Shots on goal — Homer 7-6-8—21; Houston 11-9-6—26.
Goalies — Homer, Strong (26 shots, 24 saves); Houston, Burnside (21 shots, 20 saves).
Stars 5, Rams 2
Monroe 1 1 0 —2
Soldotna 1 3 1 —5
First period — 1. Soldotna, Lockwood (Dahlgren), 2:54; 2. Monroe, Bailey (un.), 12:21. Penalties — Monroe 2 for 4:00; Soldotna 2 for 4:00.
Second period — 3. Soldotna, Larsen (Dahlgren, Medcoff), 0:34; 4. Soldotna, Deraeve (Heath, Theiler), 2:54; 5. Monroe, Fowler (Harbour, Moore), pp, 5:53; 6. Soldotna, Medcoff (Burcham), 14:32. Penalties — 1 for 5:00.
Third period — 7. Soldotna, Larsen (O’Lena), 9:24. Penalties — Soldotna 5 for 18:00.
Shots on goal — Monroe 4-1-4—9; Soldotna 24-16-11—51.
Goalies — Monroe, Packee (51 shots, 46 saves); Soldotna, See (9 shots, 7 saves).
Kardinals 7, Crimson Bears 4
Juneau 0 2 2 —4
Kenai 3 1 3 —7
First period — 1. Kenai, Mese (Shelden, Martin), 2:59; 2. Kenai, Spann (Shelden), 13:52; 3. Kenai, Begich (J. Petty, Cialek), 14:45. Penalties — Juneau 3 for 14:00.
Second period — 4. Juneau, Bentz (Roomsburg), 5:24; 5. Kenai, Shelden (Cialek, Warren), 9:53; 6. Juneau, S. Bovitz (Bartlett), 12:26. Penalties — Juneau 2 for 4:00; Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Third period — 7. Kenai, Shelden (Mese), 4:21; 8. Juneau, L. Bovitz (Shibler), pp, 5:50; 9. Juneau, S. Bovitz (L. Bovitz), 6:30; 10. Kenai, Mese (Shelden), pp, 7:39; 11. Kenai, Begich (un.), en, 14:28. Penalties — Juneau 2 for 4:00; Kenai 4 for 16:00.
Shots on goal — Juneau 4-8-8—20; Kenai 15-13-11—39.
Goalies — Juneau, Mason Sooter (39 shots, 32 saves); Kenai, Harris and Koppes (20 shots, 16 saves).