The Juneau Capitals swept six opposing 14U-Division A hockey teams en route to claiming a state title in Kenai over the March 19-21 weekend.
Juneau held four opponents scoreless, and that includes a 4-0 victory in the tournament’s championship game.
After losing key defenseman Sonny Monsef to a muscle injury early in the opening game, each Juneau player recorded at least one point in the remaining five games.
Juneau received balanced scoring, a relentless, high-energy effort and unselfish play from a group skating together for the first time all season.
Meanwhile goalies Caleb Friend and Mason Sooter split time in net almost evenly to backstop the Capitals, giving up just three goals in six games.
“The Juneau Douglas Ice Association season starts in August and goes until April, and these players week in and week out worked hard at honing their skills,” said Coach Mike Bovitz who was joined by fellow coaches Dave Kovach, Jarrod Sowa and Bill Holbrook. “For them, especially in these difficult times, to showcase their skills they way they did was really priceless.”
Linemates Eliot Welch (six goals, eight assist) and Luke Bovitz (five goals, nine assists) paced the team with 14 points each.
The Capitals also received offensive production from forwards Dylan Sowa (12 points), Macabee Brna (10) Caden Johns (nine), and Zander Smith and Matthew Plang (six each).
Defensemen Loren Platt (six points), Camden Kovach (four), Emilio Holbrook (three) and Dane Pedersen (one) also contributed offensively.
“Scoring, defense and goaltending is what makes the game,” Bovitz said. “When you have a team buying into team play, from a shutdown defense, to prolific scoring, and stellar goaltending, it becomes magical and fun for all.”
The Capitals opened the tournament with consecutive shuts out victories over the Alaska Grizzlies (7-0), Northern Knights club (10-0) and the Delta Huskies (7-0).
Juneau quickly fell behind in the quarterfinal game versus the Alaska Heat, 1-0, before running off five unanswered goals and advancing to the semifinals.
The Capitals took a 3-0 lead into the third period then had to hold off a formidable Fairbanks team’s come back effort in a 3-2 semifinal decision.
The Capitals then out shot the Anchorage Comets, 37-33, while scoring in the game’s first minute and never looking back for the 4-0 title victory.
“It comes down to the support from players, parents and coaches, the buy-in of fun and trust,” Bovitz said. “That is what makes winning happen.”