The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears hockey team finished a challenging road trip to Anchorage on Saturday by knocking off the Bartlett Golden Bears 8-5.
The win was the fourth game in four days in Anchorage and proved that JDHS (8-4 overall, 4-0 conference) can survive in a tournament setting of straight games.
“I think the biggest standout on this road trip was our resiliency,” JDHS head coach Dave McKenna said. “Playing away from home it can sometimes feel like the ice is tilted towards your own net, and everything is working against you. You might feel tired from travel, not be used to the style of officiating or the size of the ice sheet, and it just feels like all the bounces are not going your way. These are all things that can take away from your focus, and our guys never let them become a distraction. They fought hard and bounced back every game, and I was really pleased with their effort.”
The trip began with a sweep over Mid-Alaska Conference foe Houston 4-1 on Wednesday and 4-3 Thursday. The wins gave the Crimson Bears their first ever 4-0 conference record.
“That is pretty exciting,” McKenna said. “They were hard fought games and I was really impressed with how our guys showed up ready to play.”
In Thursday’s game Martin Woodby scored at the 7:38 mark of the first period on an assist by Dillon Tomaro and Bill Holbrook scored on an unassisted power play with 1:29 left in the period for a 2-0 lead. Houston scored their three goals in the second period.
For JDHS, Tod Baseden found the net at the 8:46 mark on an assist by Marc Heifetz and Zach Bicknell scored on a power play and two passes by Holbrook and Jonathan Weston.
The Crimson Bears were penalized six times. Woodby for hooking, Holbrook for head contact and interference, Chris Jacobsen for interference, and Baseden for cross checking and roughing. Houston was whistled five times; for interference, slashing, holding, and two roughing penalties.
Colter Pritchard stopped 31 shots on the night and JDHS fired 31 on Houston’s goal.
Pritchard also earned his work between the pipes on Friday night in a tough 5-4 loss to Colony. The Knights blasted 50 shots on goal.
“Colter really came up big for us on the trip,” McKenna said. “Especially in our opening game against Houston when he made 40 saves. Any time your goalie plays that well in an important game it really energizes the team. He’s a hard worker in practice and it’s really nice to see him have success when the pressure is on.”
Against the Knights, Baseden scored at the 7:50 mark of the first period on assists by Holbrook and Weston. Holbrook scored twice; at the 4:27 mark of the second period on as assist by Baseden, and in the third stanza at the 13:41 point with Baseden again paving the way. Zach Easton notched a score at the 14:27 mark of the third period on an assist by Heifetz.
Freshman Westin had a break out game against Bartlett on Saturday, exploding for one goal in the first period at the 3:00 mark (assist by Baseden), and tallying six assists. In the second period Westin set up Holbrook at the 11:07 mark, Easton at 8:42, Baseden at 6:40, Holbrook at 6:03, Cole Cheeseman at 4:04, and assisted Holbrook to set up Baseden at the 6:45 mark of the final period.
The Crimson Bears put 46 discs against the Bartlett tender; Griffin Bozarth and Pritchard held the net down with 39 saves. Baseden received the lone slashing penalty for JDHS, while Bartlett was whistled five times.
“Weston scored a lot of points on the trip,” McKenna said. “but more importantly he showed he can play physically and be very responsible defensively. He also played really unselfish hockey. Dillon Tomaro played some great heads-up hockey and contributed a lot to both our offensive and defensive efforts. These are the things we really like to see from our forwards.”
McKenna also stated that Kevin Zigarlick was a strong physical presence in all four games.
“Kevin carried the puck with a lot of confidence and helped our offense,” McKenna said. “Tod (Baseden) had a great trip as well. He is not the biggest kid out on the ice but he play’s like he is. He never backs down from anyone.”
Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Houston was reported in an earlier paper.
“It’s never easy playing on the road, and to win 3 out of 4 on this trip feels pretty good,” McKenna said. “The one loss we had was against a good Colony team, and we nearly came back from a 4-2 deficit to tie the game. Our players competed to the very end and showed a lot of heart. Every time we had a goal scored against us we bounced right back and came at the other team hard.”
The Crimson Bears host the Homer Mariners Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m.