Juneau and Palmer players fight for the puck near the Crimson Bears’ goal during Saturday night’s game between Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and Palmer High School at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau and Palmer players fight for the puck near the Crimson Bears’ goal during Saturday night’s game between Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and Palmer High School at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

JDHS loses pair of games to Palmer in battle between top two teams in conference

Crimson Bears rebound from 5-1 defeat Friday, take Palmer to last minute of OT in 3-2 loss Saturday.

It was a tough pair of games for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s varsity hockey team at home against Palmer High School. But the Crimson Bears made the second tough for the visitors as well by battling nearly until the end of overtime before losing 3-2 on Saturday following a penalty-filled 5-1 defeat Friday night.

The matchup between the top two teams in the Northern Lights Conference (with Palmer 3-0 and JDHS 3-1 in the conference going into the weekend’s games) was a largely even fight that saw a slow change in momentum on Saturday. The Crimson Bears took a 2-0 lead in the second period, then watched Palmer rally to win while keeping the puck mostly in Juneau’s side of the court during the final two periods and overtime.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Luke Bovitz (#4) tries to keep his feet near Palmer High School’s goal during Saturday night’s game at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Luke Bovitz (#4) tries to keep his feet near Palmer High School’s goal during Saturday night’s game at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Friday night’s game for the Crimson Bears was marred by 16 penalties, compared to two on Saturday when Palmer was hit with five penalties, Crimson Bears head coach Matt Boline said after Saturday’s game. He said his team also played a more solid overall game during the second matchup.

“We manage the puck better and we were more aggressive on the forecheck tonight,” he said. “Last night we were a little bit slower to jump in and create turnovers. And tonight we were a little bit better on that. It also helped to stay out of penalty trouble.”

Dylan Sowa (#35) celebrates after scoring the first goal to give Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s the lead against Palmer High School during the first period of Saturday’s game at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Dylan Sowa (#35) celebrates after scoring the first goal to give Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s the lead against Palmer High School during the first period of Saturday’s game at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

JDHS got on the board first Saturday with a breakaway goal midway through the first period by Dylan Sowa, with an assist from Loron Platt.

“Dylan’s got a great shot,” Boline said. “He’s hard for any goalies to stop. He’s not that big of a kid, but when you see him warming up with his shorts on you can tell he’s part of the quadzilla club. He’s really strong down low and he can shoot the puck really hard.”

The Crimson Bears had a golden opportunity to build on their lead when Palmer was hit with a double penalty with 13 seconds left in the first period, but were unable to capitalize on the two-man advantage.

“I think we were hesitant to shoot the puck,” Boline said about the missed opportunity. “We kept it on the perimeter, we controlled it through a lot of that, but we didn’t shoot the puck.”

However, Juneau did extend its lead a couple of minutes later with a goal by Emilo Hollbrook, assisted by Caden Johns and Luke Bovitz, less than four minutes into the second period.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Caleb Friend (playing goalie) and Loron Platt (#26) try to defend the net against Palmer High School’s Kinan Greco (#88) and Bradford Heard (#24) during Saturday night’s game at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Caleb Friend (playing goalie) and Loron Platt (#26) try to defend the net against Palmer High School’s Kinan Greco (#88) and Bradford Heard (#24) during Saturday night’s game at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

“He’s just a grinder, he’s kind of a pitbull and a dogfighter, and he just finds a way to get the puck,” Boline said of Hollbrook. “And luckily there was like a second or third rebound on this. Luke had the puck behind the net and fed it out to Caden, and Caden took a shot and then Emilio came up with a really strong bullet.”

But Palmer (now 5-0 conference, 12-3-1 overall) came back with its first goal 25 seconds later, and then largely controlled the puck the remainder of the game while scoring the tying goal midway through the third quarter and the game-winner with just over a minute left in overtime.

“Palmer did a good job of containing us,” Boline said, “They were getting to the boards and then taking away our options on our breakout, and that’s a look we don’t see very often. And they were trying to trap us into going to the puck up to the boards and stopping us on the blue line, and we fell into that trap quite a bit. And that’s when we had a hard time getting out of our zone.”

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé goalie Caleb Friend watches the puck get past him during Saturday night’s game against Palmer High School at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé goalie Caleb Friend watches the puck get past him during Saturday night’s game against Palmer High School at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

JDHS (now 3-3 in the conference, 6-5-1 overall), next plays at home Homer High School (0-5 conference, 2-7 overall) on Jan. 4 and 5. Homer did not play last year due to a lack of players and is resuming its program with a small roster this season.

“They’re kind of rebuilding right now, I’d say, and hopefully we can take advantage of that,” Boline said.

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

Palmer High School’s Ryan Martin (#2) looks to take a shot against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé goalie Caleb Friend during Saturday night’s game at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Palmer High School’s Ryan Martin (#2) looks to take a shot against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé goalie Caleb Friend during Saturday night’s game at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Palmer High School players celebrate after scoring the winning goal in overtime Saturday to defeat Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Palmer High School players celebrate after scoring the winning goal in overtime Saturday to defeat Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé at Treadwell Arena. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

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