The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team made history Friday afternoon with its first state tournament win in program history.
The Crimson Bears defeated the Service Cougars 2-1 in the sixth game of the ASAA First National Cup Division I state hockey championships at the Curtis D. Menard Sports Center in Wasilla.
JDHS was a combined 0-4 at the state championships over the previous two seasons. The 2015-16 season was the first time the squad qualified for state by coming in second place in the Mid-Alaska Conference playoffs.
In the game that would decide the state’s fourth-place finisher on Saturday, the Crimson Bears fell to South Anchorage 9-3.
The Wolverines scored four goals in the first period, two in the second and three in the third to come away with the win.
“It was tough to match their speed in the start of the game and make sure we had coverage as they attacked,” JDHS coach Luke Adams said. “It took us 10 minutes to get started.”
JDHS freshman goaltender Dawson Hickok made his second consecutive start in goal, but was pulled by the end of the first period after the Wolverines’ hot start.
Sophomore Cody Mitchell made some difficult stops over the remainder of the first period. Bill Bosse scored a goal off a rebound and South led 4-1 after the first period.
Two aggressive plays in the second period resulted in two goals for Juneau, but South kept pace with two goals of their own.
JDHS junior Dalton Hoy intercepted a pass just inside the blue line, deked right past a diving J.J. Fabeck and faked backhand before scoring forehand.
Three minutes later and on the penalty kill, Cameron Smith lofted the puck the length of the ice at South goaltender Alex Pavia. The puck bounced off Pavia right to the stick of a charging Bosse, who beat the goalie glove side.
An earlier goal by the high-scoring junior was waved off because of a JDHS penalty.
And while JDHS may not treasure the memory of this game, they will long remember their 2-1 victory the day earlier.
In the win over Service, seniors Jacob Dale and Joseph Monsef scored the biggest goals of their careers and Hickok made 28 saves.
It was Hickok’s first-ever varsity start at goalie all season. The freshman played the better part of two periods in the Crimson Bears’ first-round loss to West Anchorage.
“When they told me (about starting), I was just thinking in my head … of all the ways they could score and just tried to eliminate all those chances,” Hickok said. “So I was pretty nervous when they told me.”
JDHS head coach Luke Adams was happy to see the hard work of his team pay off.
“I think it’s sunk in because we’re definitely the underdogs when we walk in the room at the state tournament,” Adams said. “And when opponents are playing us they smile and say, ‘Sweet.’ So we took that to heart and said, ‘Well, if you’re going to beat us you’re going to have to earn it.’”
Dale put JDHS up 1-0 with 44 seconds remaining in the first period. Erik Genitz and Bosse assisted on the goal.
JDHS kept up their pressure in the second period. Six minutes into the period, Genitz fired a shot on Service goaltender Kevin Tauton. The netminder blocked the shot but Monsef cleaned up the rebound and scored his first goal of the tournament.
Monsef concurred with his coach and said the team had something to prove this tournament.
“I think we realized people that, ‘Hey people are talking about Service, why not Juneau?’ They’re a really storied team and storied organization so it’s really fulfilling to beat them,” Monsef said.
The Cougars finally saw the puck go in the net with under five minutes left in the third period.
The Crimson Bears killed off a Cougars power play in the final minute of the game to maintain their one-goal lead all the way to the very end.
In the locker room after the game, the players showered Adams with water bottles to celebrate the win — a victory three years in the making.
“They wanted it and they showed that they’re here to compete,” Adams said. “We’re not just happy to be at the state tournament. We want to compete.”
JDHS finished the 2017-18 season with a 7-13 record. Dimond and West play Saturday night in the state championship game.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated in the subheadline JDHS finished fourth in the state tournament. JDHS lost in the fourth-place game and did not receive an official placing in the tournament. The article has been updated online to reflect the change.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com.