The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team had just one night to enjoy their Thursday come-from-behind win over the Lathrop Malemutes.
On Friday the Crimson Bears could not make up the 3-0 deficit and that score stood, giving the Juneau skaters a key loss in the Mid Alaska Conference.
“There was definitely a lot of emotion in the game,” JDHS coach Luke Adams said. “Both teams came out strong.”
A scoreless first period featured physical play. JDHS’ Shane Moller was whistled for interference and Corey Box for elbowing. Lathrop’s Tristen Ramaker received a game disqualification for checking from behind and was ejected from the ice.
The Malemutes found the crease twice in the second period.
Colton Meier hit at 11:03 with assists by Nick Jensen and Camron Walker, and Chad Horn buried the puck at 7:25 unassisted. The period featured five penalties. JDHS’ Ethan Seid (tripping, holding), Chase Barnum (elbow) and Lathrop’s Parker (tripping) and Jensen (holding).
Meier scored again at the 9:21 mark of the third period with an Alex Parker assist.
Lathrop’s Wesley Evans was cited for interference and teammate Blake Farnham for holding.
JDHS goaltenders Neal Chapman and Liam McDermott stopped a combined 29 shots. The Malemutes’ Ryan Ebenal turned away 23 Crimson Bears attacks.
“We made a game out of it and I think we earned some respect from them,” Adams said. “Especially because we did not fold at any time. Lathrop played with an extra edge when they found out the first night that we could compete with them.”
Lathrop did not take as many risks when ahead as they had in the previous game and that neutralized the Crimson Bears’ counter attack.
In a non-conference counting game with Mid Alaska foe West Valley, the Crimson Bears lost 8-1 to the Wolfpack.
West Valley was the preseason favorite in the MAC and is one of the top-rated hockey teams in the state.
“They are very good,” Adams said. “They are very skilled and experienced.”
West Valley scored twice in the first period and had the run of the puck.
“We played well considering the amount of time they had the puck in our zone,” Adams said. “We really focused on our defensive end play. We made a lot of contact and were physical.”
JDHS junior Cole Cheeseman scored the Crimson Bears’ lone goal on a power play in the second period.
The shot came during a 5-on-3 advantage, which was whittled down to a 4-on-3.
“A lot of our players had time on the ice this trip,” Adams said. “We got to get some new, younger players in the mix tonight. We are playing every game to win and the players have responded well. Most of our players are showing they are mature enough to be put on the ice and commit their full energy and effort.
The Crimson Bears will value that experience as they have two conference games with the Wolfpack in Juneau on Jan. 17-18.
“We know where we had our breakdowns,” Adams said. “We understand what we have to do. At this point, with the ups and downs we are having, we are trying to focus on the positives, because there are a lot of positives. A lot of credit to West Valley. They are the strongest team we have played. They are a very well coached and disciplined hockey team.”
Adams said the Crimson Bears received a consistent effort from senior Josh Lahnum during the road trip.
“He has really helped us compete physically,” Adams said. “He was a difference maker. And also Grant Ainsworth was spectacular the whole time. They don’t leave anything left in the tank at the end of the game.”
The Crimson Bears next face Tri-Valley at Treadwell Arena on Thursday at 7:45 p.m., and Homer Friday at 8p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m.