Arguably the most exciting and action-packed winter sport has come to an end for the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears hockey team.
Friday night, in the opening round of the Mid Alaska Conference playoffs, the third-seeded Crimson Bears were shut out by the second-seeded Lathrop Malemutes 7-0.
“There is nothing that we should hang our head about,” JDHS coach Dave McKenna said. “The guys gave it a good physical effort. Obviously we are a little disappointed in the result.” Lathrop had shut out JDHS twice at Fairbanks earlier in the season, 7-0 and 5-0. JDHS had made strides since that series but Lathrop also continued to build on their powerful season.
Once again the Malemutes bit the Crimson Bears early and fast, scoring four goals in the first period. Two scores came from Lathrop’s Max Blankenship and one from Dawson Hebard and Reily McIntosh. Jacob Wolter had two assists, Hebard, Anders Carlson, Ty Munson and Jacob Hebard one each.
Lathrop scored one goal in the second period as Dawson Hebard hit from point blank on assists by Blankenshp and Logan Parsley.
In the third period the Malemutes scored two goals as Munson hit on assists by Wolter and Carlson and the Wolter found the net unassisted.
JDHS junior goalies Colter Pritchard and Griffin Bozarth stop 24 of 31 shots while Lathrop’s junior net minder Brandon Brown encountered just 12 shots at his doorstep.
“The message we are sending the kids is that it was a good year,” McKenna said. “They should not be hanging their heads. We made it back to the playoffs and did our best to prepare ourselves but sometimes the season ends in disappointment.”
“It was a very talented team we played,” McKenna said. “In a nutshell, we played a more talented team. We showed up ready to play and put a good effort in, we just didn’t take care of business. I really feel like we are making progress against skilled competition.”
After the final game Saturday, senior Bill Holbrook was announced as a selection for th MAC All-Conference team. 11 players receive the honor: a goalie and two lines of players. Conference coaches vote on the team selections.
“Every one was in unanimous favor of his selection,” McKenna said.
The Crimson Bears finish the season with an 11 win and 10 loss record.
“We were pretty disappointed with our loss,” Holbrook said. “We gave it everything we had. Hopefully the team next year will have a different result. Our team this year was the best rounded team I have ever played on in high school. We have always had strong points but I thought that this year we were really special.
Holbrook commented on his all conference selection.
“It was a great honor to to go out there with the other guys from the conference,” Holbrook said. “There are a lot of skilled guys out there and I felt really good to be out there with them. It is not all about one person, it is about your teammates too. You have to have people to work with. I could not have done this without my teammates and coaches.”
Lathrop and number-one seed West Valley met Saturday night for the MAC championship game and the Malemutes won 6-4.
West Valley reached the final by clobbering the four-seed Houston Hawks 9-2. Logan Henne scored three goals for the ‘Pack.
The Wolfpack and Malemutes both advance to the state tournament next weekend at Wasilla’s Curtis Menard Sports Complex on Feb. 9-11.