The Juneau Capitals claimed an 18-and-Under, Division A youth hockey title, grinding out four straight wins after opening the tournament with a tie.
The Capitals relied on a balanced scoring attack, tight forechecking and timely goaltending to claim first in the three-day event hosted by Tok, March 12-14.
Juneau faced opponents with larger rosters, and it played the semifinal and championship contest minus a key defenseman, who was injured in the third game.
Coaches Mike Bovitz and John Bohan led the team, which traveled upwards of 1,000 miles – taking two flights and driving another 200 miles – before checking into their Tok hotel room.
“This team kept the positive work ethic, a leave it out there one shift at a time and, all while not straying from the fun aspect of the game,” Bovitz said. “This spelled success.”
Representing the Juneau Douglas Ice Association, the Capitals won the championship game in a rematch of the opener, a 1-1 tie versus Homer. This time, Juneau edged Homer, 2-1, on a pair of goals by Andre Peirovi.
Trailing, 1-0, Peirovi tied the game with one second remaining in the first period. He scored the game-winning goal with 7:37 to play in the third.
Juneau goalie Brayden Baxter stopped 26 of 27 shots in a game, including a late-game push by Homer.
“The resilience and maturity the team showed throughout the state tournament was a testament to how players buying into having fun while trusting your teammates,” Bovitz said. “The stellar goaltending, small disciplines and hard work throughout the entire team is what produced a championship.”
After opening the tournament with a tie, Juneau won its next game, defeating Healy, 3-0, on a pair of goals by Fin Shibler and one by Jack Cisney.
Juneau won again, this time recording a 2-1 decision over Kenai on goals by Joey Meier and Peirovi.
The win sent Juneau to the semifinals where the Capitals again produced a balanced offensive attack in a 3-0 victory over the Mat-Su Amateur Hockey Association. Juneau received goals from Shibler, Meier and Dylan Murdoch.
Juneau was also led by forwards Sam Bovitz, who led the Capitals with five assists, and Cody Kesserling, plus defensemen Taylor Bentley, Colton Johns, Cody Roomsburg.
Because of COVID-19 protocols, these players could not participate in Alaska’s high school state tournament, so they took advantage of their only post season opportunity.
“In a COVID-19 year of unprecedented hurdles, the support of players, parents and coaching staff really shows how hard the players work at a game they love – hockey,” Bovitz said. “They showed incredible fortitude and created memories that will last for years.”