A season of hockey seemed to be crammed onto two thick sheets of Treadwell Arena ice for the Juneau-Douglas High School skaters’ home opening series over the weekend.
On Friday the Crimson Bears were in a racehorse game against visiting Chugiak and the Mustangs found a way to control the sheet 7-3.
On Saturday the Crimson Bears took a more aggressive mentality into the game and made a more respectable tri-period showing but still fell 4-0.
“One adjustment we made was to be a little more physical without skating out of control,” JDHS coach Dave McKenna said. “They still found ways to get behind our defensemen though.”
Chugiak’s Taylor Garner scored at 10:28 of the first period on Saturday off a misplayed rebound.
JDHS matched the Mustangs with six shots in the first 15 minutes of play and swarmed the visitors into the boards often.
Two missed power play opportunities in the second period by the Crimson Bears, at the 11:34 (CHS’ Hunter Hanson, head contact) and 10:12 (CHS’ Ted Walters, tripping) marks, were critical in shifting momentum to the home team.
At the 8:50 mark JDHS’ Michael Dale was called for illegal head contact and seconds later Dalton L’Allier was caught holding. Instead of playing shorthanded, however, the Crimson Bears played aggressive and controlled the ice until the penalties were through and they returned to full strength.
Chugiak had a goal disallowed at the 5:15 mark due to a penalty for illegal head contact by Adam Groendyke that put them a man down.
Mustangs’ star Kris Tomazevic worked his way to score on an unassisted short-handed goal for a 2-0 lead at the 3:21 mark. Through two periods Chugiak had 15 shots on goal to JDHS’ 10.
The Crimson Bears kept the Mustangs at bay through half of the final period, tacking on another seven shots and limiting Chugiak to just five.
In the final five minutes however, the Mustangs tallied twice. Garner notched his second of the game with assists by Tomazevic and William Casey, and Groendyke hit at 3:27 (assists Matt Lowery, Tyler Painter).
JDHS’ Griffin Bozarth stopped 17 shots on goal, while Chugiak’s Matt Bennett was perfect with 15 saves.
Stars of the game went to Chugiak’s’ Tomazevic (1) with one goal and two assists, CHS goalie Bennett (2) and JDHS’ Dillon Tomaro (3).
On Friday the Crimson Bears were the fastest team on the ice, sometimes too fast, seemingly over skating the puck and giving the Mustangs more one-on-one matchups.
Chugiak’s Tomazevic scored at the 6:21 mark of the first period for a 1-0 advantage.
L’Allier matched the goal at 2:30 but Tomazevic scored a minute later to take a 2-1 lead into the second period.
“We are faster on our feet without the puck,” McKenna said. “We adjusted and tried to dump it in past them and get to it.”
Tod Baseden notched the score at 2 apiece just seconds into the second period (assists L’Allier, Grant Ainsworth) but less than a minute later Garner scored unassisted to put Chugiak ahead.
Tomaro hit at 2:32 (assist Cole Cheeseman) to give the front row fans, who dared go shirtless with the Bears painted on their chests, reason to stand and shout.
Once again the Mustangs answered with :54 remaining as Painter found the net (assist Cody Curfman) and reclaimed momentum heading into the final period.
“We were just to spread out,” McKenna said. “We have to get all our forwards on one side of the ice.”
Chugiak’s Tomazevic scored three more goals in the final period, at 14:04 (assists Jonathan Banovetz), 12:25 (assist Lowery), and :38 (assist Nick Fussner).
“We were pretty scattered defensively,” McKenna said. “And not very aggressive. And they had a few guys who could really carry the puck and make good passes. If you give them that much time they are going to find ways to make you pay for it.”
JDHS penalties went to Kevin Sigler (roughing), Tomaro (tripping), and Kevin Zigarlick (head contact, misconduct, unsportsmanlike conduct). Chugiak infractions were Tomazevic (interference, head contact), Cooper Laurin (tripping), and Curfman (holding).
Colter Pritchard stopped 27 shots for the Crimson Bears, Chugiak’s’ Bennett 24.
Stars of the game went to CHS’ Tomazevic (1) with five goals, JDHS’ L’Allier (2) with one goal and one assist, and CHS goalie Jack Straub with 24 saves.
According to assistant coaches Matt Boline and Luke Adams, the graduation of Billy Holbrook, JDHS’ all-time leading scorer, is apparent in that the team doesn’t have one go-to scorer. The up side to that for the Crimson Bears is that they have a number of players who can put the puck in the net once the team begins to control their speed.
“We lost a lot last year,” Boline said. “A lot of scoring. But we are a better team this year across the board. We are a lot faster and have guys that are making the effort on the game plan.”
Officials on the weekend were Mark Neidhold (Ref), Tom Ainsworth (Ref/Line), Scott Sell (Ref/Line), Jerry Nankervis (Ref), Dan Teske (scorer), and Joyce Vick (timer).
The Crimson Bears next have a four-game round trip from Nov. 28-Dec 1 against West Valley and North Pole.