Playing a nonconference opponent from Southeast Alaska gave the Kenai Central hockey team a chance to break their winless start to the season, but a slow start doomed them to a 7-0 loss Wednesday night against Juneau-Douglas at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility.
The loss drops Kenai to 0-9 overall this year, and while the lopsided score didn’t look competitive, the Kardinals were able to skate with Juneau for most of the night.
“If we had showed up for the full 45 minutes we could’ve had a chance,” said head coach Jacob Newton. “We went down early, then started to get better in the second and third.”
Bill Bosse and Owen Squires each tallied two goals for the Crimson Bears, who improved to 5-3. Juneau senior goaltender Cody Mitchell earned the 16-save shutout in net.
The Crimson Bears outshot the Kardinals 38-16, even as Kenai stayed with Juneau in the first period with an even eight shots apiece. Juneau head coach Luke Adams said the cold wafting into the open-air building helped play to Juneau’s strengths.
“It’s a fast surface,” Adams said. “We like playing on cold, hard ice because puck containment is not our strength. We like using our feet and the puck can go bouncing a lot on this ice.”
Juneau faces Soldotna tonight as part of a four-game road trip against the Stars and Kardinals. The Crimson Bears face SoHi at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex before playing both Kenai and Soldotna a second time on Friday and Saturday.
Before they get their rematch Friday, the Kards couldn’t find a way around Juneau goalie Mitchell. On the other end of the ice, Kenai goalie Carson Koppes stopped 31 of 38 shots on goal.
The Bears also stayed out of the penalty box, staying clean until committing two infractions in the third period. Kenai, a team that has stayed clean most of the year, was tagged for a pair of major penalties in the second period as Bailey Maxson was sent to the box for checking from behind and a game misconduct.
Juneau capitalized on the power play with a goal off the stick of Sam Bovitz, who redirected a shot from Dalton Hoy to give the Bears a 4-0 lead.
Bosse netted the first goal of the night almost nine minutes into the first period. Evan Fabrello followed up two minutes later by knocking in a rebound, and Squires got his first of the night just 39 seconds later with a behind-the-net shot that traveled over Koppes’ shoulder, putting Juneau up 3-0.
Crimson Bears 7, Kardinals 0
Juneau 3 2 2 —7
Kenai 0 0 0 —0
First period — 1. Juneau, Bosse (Hoy, Lynch), 8:48; 2. Juneau, Fabrello (Frisby, Bovitz), 10:49; 3. Juneau, Squires (Lynch), 11:28. Penalties — Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 4. Juneau, Bovitz (Hoy), PP, 1:36; 5. Juneau, Bosse (unassisted), 2:01. Penalties — Kenai 2 for 15:00.
Third period — 6. Juneau, Squires (Welch), 11:03; 7. Juneau, Weldon (Burchhardt, Bovitz), 14:32. Penalties — Kenai 2 for 4:00; Juneau 2 for 4:00.
Shots — Kenai 8-2-6—16; Juneau 8-17-13—38.
Goalies — Kenai, Koppes (38 shots, 31 saves); Juneau, Mitchell (16 shots, 16 saves).
• Joey Klecka is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.