The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team tasted how tough Class 4A hockey can be this weekend.
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Palmer High School, currently fourth in the North Star Conference, convincingly beat the Crimson Bears (9-9) twice at Treadwell Arena. The Moose upended JDHS 9-1 on Friday and 6-1 on Saturday.
JDHS got off to a hot start Saturday as Andrew Ainsworth scored 4:07 into the first period. The Crimson Bears' lead proved short lived, however, as Palmer rallied for three goals to take a 3-1 lead.
Palmer (10-3) added one goal in the second period and two more in the third for the sweep.
Despite the loss, Juneau fought hard in trying to come back. JDHS outshot Palmer 17-7 in the third period.
Also, the Crimson Bears earned their first penalty shot in program history as the referee whistled Justin Perkins for interference with 41 seconds left in regulation.
Michael Hanson led the Moose with two goals and an assist while Jacob Collins contributed two goals.
With the loss, JDHS fell to 0-4 against Class 4A competition.
On Friday, Palmer's Hanson scored a hat trick in a 9-1 win.
The Moose looked rusty in the offensive zone but more than made up for it with their stickhandling and speed. Palmer seemingly won every loose puck and created most of its offense in transition.
"It's important these kids battle through for loose pucks," Palmer coach Dino Pagano said Friday. "We've got to win all the one-on-one battles. It's very important. Also, working as a team and working on systems. Tonight, honestly it fell apart a bit. We haven't played for a month."
Palmer scored three goals in 60 seconds to open a 3-0 lead in the first period. The Moose added three more in the second to go ahead 6-0.
Ainsworth provided the Bears' lone goal 20 seconds into the third period. Tyler Virgin responded for Palmer 23 seconds later to ignite another three-goal period.
"We did not have a bad game, just not good enough," JDHS coach Steve Foster said Friday. "They caught the breaks and we didn't capitalize on diddley-squat."
While Juneau struggled to slow down Palmer's transition game, the Crimson Bears did show promise in the offensive zone.
JDHS maintained possession in Palmer's zone for stretches throughout the game by cycling the puck behind the Moose goal. However, the Crimson Bears failed to translate that possession into many quality scoring chances.
"We actually worked on cycling this week in practice," Ainsworth said. "I think that helped a bit. I think, mainly, everyone is getting to know each other better and getting the feel for everyone else. It's easier to pass when you're like that.
"They're probably one of the biggest teams we played this year and they had a big presence in front of their net. It was a little tougher to stand in there."
Juneau's Kelsey Preston turned aside 11 of 17 shots in two periods while Alex Vick made four saves in the third period.
Palmer's James Isaacs made 17 saves in the win.
JDHS (9-9) hosts Delta Junction for two games on Jan. 19-20 at Treadwell Arena.
Palmer 9, JDHS 1
PHS 3 3 3 - 9
JDHS 0 0 1 - 1
First period - PHS, Richards (Virgin), PPG, 10:37; PHS, Hanson (Wright), 9:56; PHS, Alger (unassisted), 9:37.
Second period - PHS, Hanson (Richards), 14:49; PHS, Hanson (Cassidy), 9:44; PHS, Blakeman (Danielowski), 1:59.
Third period - JD, A. Ainsworth (unassisted), 14:40; PHS, Virgin (unassisted), 14:17; Virgin (Hanson, Danielowski), :57; PHS, Danielowski (unassisted), ENG, :05.
Shots on goal - Juneau-Douglas 8-3-7-18; Palmer 10-7-7-24.
Power-play opportunities- JDHS 0-4; Palmer 1-3.
Goalies - Juneau-Douglas, Preston 7-4 (17 shots-11saves), Vick 4 (7 shots, 4 saves); Palmer, Isaacs 8-3-6 (18 shots, 17 saves).
Palmer 6, JDHS 1
PHS 3 1 2 - 6
JDHS 1 0 0 - 1
First period - JDHS, A. Ainsworth (unassisted), 10:53; PHS, Hanson (Richards), 9:51; PHS, Richards (Hanson, Danielowski), 5:53; PHS, Hanson (Virgin), 2:32.
Second period - PHS, Collins (Danielowski, Isaacs), 5:01.
Third period - PHS, Collins (Alger), 14:22; PHS, Richards (unassisted), 6:59.
Shots on goal - Juneau-Douglas 5-7-17-29; Palmer 18-7-7-32.
Power-play opportunities - JDHS 0-7; Palmer 0-4.
Goalies - Juneau-Douglas, Post 15-6-5 (32 shots-26 saves); Palmer, Naegle 4-7 (12 shots-11saves), Isaacs 17 (17 shots, 17 saves).