The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team will host powerhouse Chugiak tonight at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Treadwell Arena for the first Crimson Bears home ice action of the season.
“We are picking up were we left off on our trip to Kenai,” JDHS coach Dave McKenna said. “The team is moving in the right direction as far as player communication and working together as a team.”
JDHS has had a solid week of practices after going 2-2 on the road with a 5-3 loss to Homer, a 4-1 loss to Soldotna and wins of 4-2 over Kenai and 4-2 over North Pole.
What has been positive in the young season is the number of players who have found the goal and the assist line.
“If our game is on fans will see good, smart passing,” McKenna said. “I think we have a smarter team than we have had in years past. We will be utilizing more options on the breakout and working together as a group more to generate offense. We have a good balanced attack and everybody is doing their part.”
The Crimson Bears will be sponsoring a Thanksgiving food drive for the Glory Hole at tonight’s game. Fans who bring canned goods will be entered into a raffle for a JDHS hockey team t-shirt.
Fans will also see a Mustangs team that has put in some early season battles with ice powers around Anchorage’s Cook Inlet Conference.
The Mustangs (1-4) lost to Dimond 10-2 in their season opener, but six Chugiak players did not have the required 10 practices at that time and could not play.
The Mustangs’ lone win was a 3-1 icing of Bartlett.
Chugiak lost 4-3 to Eagle River (2-3) on Tuesday. The Mustangs’ three goals coming from Taylor Garner, William Casey and Hunter Hanson in a span of three minutes show that Chugiak has the firepower to be dangerous.
“Any time you play a talented offensive team your frame of mind has to be defense first,” McKenna said. “Like we found out against East last season that a team can run up the score quickly, so we have to find a way to generate offense and think defensively at the same time.”
Senior Kevin Zigarlick was voted by the team as their Player Of The Week on the season-opening road trip.
“More than anything he was a big presence for us in all the games,” McKenna said. “He was a strong defensive player but contributed offensively. He did everything in terms of penalty kills, power plays, and special teams play. He has really improved a lot from last year.”
Team captain Zigarlick has a goal and two assists on the season; Assistant captain Tod Baseden has 3 goals and 2 assists; Assistant captain Marc Heifetz has 2 goals, 3 assists, Dalton L’Allier 3 goals; Ethan Seid and Dillon Tomaro have 1 goal, 3 assists each; Kaipo Tseu has 1 goal and Kevin Sigler 1 assist.