Members of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s hockey team look to get the puck out of their end of the rink during Saturday’s game against Houston High School at Treadwell Arena. (Photo courtesy of Bailey Hensen)

Members of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s hockey team look to get the puck out of their end of the rink during Saturday’s game against Houston High School at Treadwell Arena. (Photo courtesy of Bailey Hensen)

Crimson Bears get tough tuneup entering hockey playoffs

JDHS, ranked fourth, loses final two regular season games to top-ranked Houston High School.

The Crimson Bears hockey team got a hard check about the challenge they are facing entering the playoffs on Thursday, as they lost consecutive games to top-seed Houston High School by scores of 5-3 on Friday and 8-0 at Treadwell Arena on Saturday to end the regular season.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé, the fourth seed among the eight teams in the Division II Hockey State Championships, is scheduled to play Kenai Central High School at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. The winner of that game is scheduled to play the winner of Thursday’s matchup between Houston and eighth-seeded Tri-Valley High School in a semifinal game at 4 p.m. Friday.

If Houston (18-3-1 overall, 8-0 conference) does prevail, Crimson Bears head coach Matt Boline said the past weekend shows why they’re the top seed.

“They’re a very, very good team,” he said Monday. “They have a number of very talented players that play on Team Alaska’s triple-A team, which is the only triple-A team in the state. I believe their team has more members of the triple-A team than any other team in the state. So you can you can imagine that they’re probably pretty good.”

“They’re fast and move the puck well, they’re well organized, they’ve played a lot of games in and outside of high schools together, and they have for a long time.”

JDHS, which has had its own dominating performances in compiling a 10-8-1 (7-3 conference) record during the regular season, fell behind by a 2-0 score within about the first four minutes of Friday’s game against Houston, which provided the visitors with the winning margin Houston lead 4-2 at the end of the second period and finished on top 5-3.

“Through most of the game Friday we did a really good job on countering them and adjusting to them,” Boline said.

Mason Sooter (#30) defends the net for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during Saturday’s game against Houston High School at Treadwell Arena. (Photo courtesy of Bailey Hensen)

Mason Sooter (#30) defends the net for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during Saturday’s game against Houston High School at Treadwell Arena. (Photo courtesy of Bailey Hensen)

Ian Moller, Luke Bovitz and Matthew Plang each scored goals for the Crimson Bears.

Saturday, however, was dominated by Houston as they scored three goals in the first period, one in the second and four in third. The visitors also outshot the Crimson Bears 35-15.

“Saturday was just a little bit more than we could take it seemed,” Boline said. “We lost a couple of players to injury during the game and that hurt us quite a bit. There also was a number of penalties too and so it was hard to get in our groove. And it was just like at the end of the day they’re a good team and it’s tough to keep up with them.”

JDHS went on the road to play Kenai the previous weekend and won both games by scores of 7-3. But Boline said that won’t be cause for his team to let up entering Thursday’s game.

“If they get enough space they can do some damage,” he said about Kenai. “So we even though know we did beat them pretty handily a couple of times we’re still going to have our guards up and be ready for them because if we sleep on Kenai then we’ll never get to play Houston again.”

The Crimson Bears advanced to the championship game of last year’s tournament, the best finish in the team’s history, losing to Soldotna 2-1. Bovine said his team faces a similar playoff scenario this year as JDHS first defeated Kenai and then had to top Houston in the semifinal a year ago.

The seniors for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s hockey team are honored at Treadwell Arena on Senior Night on Friday. (Photo courtesy of JDHS Hockey)

The seniors for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s hockey team are honored at Treadwell Arena on Senior Night on Friday. (Photo courtesy of JDHS Hockey)

“This team we have right now is one of the more talented teams we’ve had in a long time,” he said, “But I think the thing that stands out for me, and I think for the rest of the coaches as well, more than their talent is their character. Just a really high character group, their character as a whole. And it’s also full of a bunch of characters. So it makes for a pretty fun and pretty positive work environment.”

JDHS’ nine senior players were recognized on Friday, the team’s designated Senior Night, and Boline said having a number of players who’ve been top varsity contributors for three years is a definite advantage going into the postseason. This year’s captains are seniors Camden Kovach, Caden Johns and Mason Sooter, the latter a rare instance of a goalie being selected.

“I think we’ve only had a goalie where a letter one other time in our program history, so it’s not very common,” Boline said, noting such players generally have less engagement on the rink than other players during games. “But when you’ve got a guy like Mason it’s tough to not make him a captain because he is a pretty awesome leader and a good teammate.”

Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

More in Sports

Sapsucker wells on willows attract hummingbirds as well as insects. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Willows and the ecosystem

I recently found willow catkins just emerging from their bud covers, getting… Continue reading

Thunder Mountain High School’s Thomas Baxter and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Alwen Carrillo embrace at their end of Saturday’s game at JDHS that may have been the final local game between the two schools due to a consolidation of them tentatively approved by the school board starting next year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
In Juneau’s potentially final crosstown basketball showdown, both schools win

TMHS girls and JDHS boys prevail on night filled with dual-school spirit as consolidation looms.

Thunder Mountain High School seniors for the boys’ basketball team, their families and other supporters fill the Thunderdome for a Senior Night recognition before Friday’s game against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. It was possibly the final home game for the Falcons team due to a pending decision to put all high school students at JDHS starting with the next school year. The Falcons girls’ team will play their final home games of the season — and possibly ever — next Friday and Saturday against North Pole High School. (Screenshot from NFHS Network)
TMHS boys prevail in possibly their final home game ever against JDHS, with merger of schools pending

Girls play final home games next weekend; both local schools play each other again tonight at JDHS.

Iditarod winner Brent Sass poses for photos with lead dogs Morello, left, and Slater after winning the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska, March 15, 2022. A second musher has been disqualified from the world’s most famous sled dog race. The governing body of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race said in a one-sentence statement late Thursday night, Feb. 22, 2024, that it has withdrawn 2022 champion Brent Sass just days before the start of this year’s race. (Anne Raup/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Assault claims roil Iditarod sled dog race as 2 top mushers are disqualified, then 1 reinstated

Claims of violence against women are roiling the world’s most famous sled… Continue reading

Forest Wagner visits Kanuti Hot Springs, located in Interior Alaska not far from the Arctic Circle. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Alaska hot springs, far and wide

After a few hours of skiing through deep snow, Forest Wagner and… Continue reading

Thunder Mountain High School’s Thomas Baxter (#33) takes a shot under the basket against Ketchikan High School’s Jonathan Scoblic during Saturday’s game at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Fit to be tied: TMHS and Ketchikan split weekend games, leaving all Southeast region teams at .500

Falcons and JDHS, after splitting games last week, face each other again on Friday and Saturday.

A female varied thrush pauses to look around during her foraging bout. (Photo by Helen Unruh)
On the Trails: Early signs of spring

The ground is heavily blanketed with snow. The snow berms in my… Continue reading

Thunder Mountain High School’s Kerra Baxter (#22) tries to penetrate Colony High School’s defense during Saturday’s game at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
No. 4 TMHS girls, hit by injuries and illness, can’t keep up with No. 2 Colony

Falcons recover from 71-31 rout Friday, keep Saturday’s game even until fourth quarter in 57-48 loss.

Brenda William-See attempts a fast-break layup for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during Thursday’s game against Colony High School at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
JDHS girls take early lead, but lose at home to No. 2 Colony 73-20

No. 4 THMS plays visting Knights at home Friday and Saturday.

Most Read