In this January 2016 photo, Juneau-Douglas High School is shown playing against North Pole. The two teams will meet today in the Mid Alaska Conference Tournament.

In this January 2016 photo, Juneau-Douglas High School is shown playing against North Pole. The two teams will meet today in the Mid Alaska Conference Tournament.

JDHS, North Pole to face off in tourney

In a repeat of last year, the Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team will face North Pole in there most important game of the season.

JDHS’ hockey team faces conference rivals North Pole at the Fairbanks-based Mid Alaska Conference Tournament at 7:15 p.m. Friday. The semifinal bout will feature No. 2-seeded JDHS against No. 3 North Pole with the spoils being a trip to the conference finals against the winner of a Lathrup-West Valley clash.

In last year’s conference semis, North Pole ended JDHS’ push for the Mid Alaska finals in a 4-8 game. However, JDHS (6-8) has bested North Pole (8-14) twice already this year, with the January home wins at Treadwell Ice Arena ending 4-2 and 6-3.

According to JDHS coach Luke Adams, Juneau simply came up one period short in last year’s semifinal and couldn’t find the conditioning they needed to stay with North Pole. JDHS had a one goal lead heading into the third period of that game, but allowed five goals in the final period and didn’t net any of their own. This year, Adams has different plans.

“For us, this game is everything,” he said. “We’ve been working hard and doing everything in our power to be as prepared as possible. Our goal is to make it to the conference finals, something we’ve been looking to do the last couple of years … We’re working to be as competitive in this conference as we can be.”

This year, making it to the conference championship remains the goal for JDHS. With the regular season winding down, however, Friday’s game with North Pole has implications for state tournament berths. Traditionally, the Mid Alaska Conference Tournament winner and runner-up are given berths to the state tournament.

The Alaska School Activities Association requires conference results and state tournament qualifiers to be submitted by Saturday, meaning berths for the state tournament will be decided the same day as the Mid Alaska Conference Championships. In other words, the winner of the North Pole versus Juneau-Douglas match could end up getting invited to the state tournament regardless of the championship results.

Juneau-Douglas High School is shown in action against North Pole in January. The teams will face each other int he conference tournament tonight.

Juneau-Douglas High School is shown in action against North Pole in January. The teams will face each other int he conference tournament tonight.

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