Juneau-Douglas High School wrapped up a busy week of hockey with two more wins.
The Crimson Bears traveled to the Kenai Peninsula for Railbelt Conference games against Kenai Central and Soldotna High School. JDHS skated to a 7-0 win Wednesday and 9-1 victory Friday over Kenai, but couldn’t solve Soldotna in two close losses. The Stars won 3-0 on Thursday and 1-0 on Saturday.
JDHS coach Luke Adams was proud of the effort his team showed in Saturday’s loss. It was the fourth game in four days and second in less than 24 hours.
“It was probably the best game we’ve played all year,” Adams said. “We played sound defensively and our kids gave us their all and that’s all that we could hope for. We’re pleased with their effort, but the kids also know that if we have an opportunity to play Soldotna in the future, we’ll be ready to compete.”
After a scoreless first two periods, Galen Brantley III of Soldotna notched the game-winner early in the third period, and JDHS couldn’t find the equalizer. Soldotna’s Josh Tree earned the shutout with 22 saves, while Juneau’s Cody Mitchell stopped 29 shots.
“Cody was on top of his game, probably one of the best games I’ve ever seen him play,” senior Finn Yerkes said. “Our whole team dynamic was just fantastic. We just were not getting anything going our way, but we still kept at it, and it really made a difference from the first day (Thursday).”
With a 6-2 conference record, JDHS will almost certainly be one of the eight teams that qualify for the Division II Hockey State Championships. The top three teams from Railbelt Conference receive automatic bids to the Jan. 31-Feb. 2 state tournament in Wasilla. Soldotna is also on track to qualify, having not lost a single conference game.
In its loss Thursday, the Crimson Bears allowed goals by Soldotna’s Trent Powell and Wyatt Medcoff.
The Crimson Bears had much less trouble putting the puck in the net — and keeping it out of theirs — against Kenai.
Senior Bill Bosse totaled five goals and was one of eight Crimson Bears to get on the scoresheet against the Kardinals.
In Wednesday’s win, Bosse and senior Owen Squires scored twice to go along with goals from senior Tyler Weldon and junior Evan Fabrello.
In Friday’s win, Bosse and senior Dalton Hoy each recorded hat tricks (three goals). Weldon, Yerkes and sophomore Colter Polley picked up the three other goals. It was the fourth time this season JDHS has scored seven or more goals in a win.
“We have everybody buying into their individual roles, and with that, they’re taking on the responsiblity that when they’re on the ice, they need to find a way to get the puck past their goalie,” Adams said. “Right now, we feel like we’re a deep team that’s able to compete at a high level every day.”
JDHS has one more road trip on the schedule before finishing out the regular season at home. The team travels to Fairbanks to play North Pole on Jan. 11-12 before returning home for series against Homer on Jan. 18-19 and Tri-Valley on Jan. 25-26.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter @akempiresports.