A busted zamboni at Treadwell Arena has left the Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team and even the local recreation leagues with little to no ice time this week, but JDHS' final home games against Fairbanks' 3A Monroe Catholic Rams appeared to be ready to go by press time on Thursday.
"I know they've been wrestling with (the zamboni) and, as far as I know, they're still going at 8 (p.m.) on Friday and 7 (p.m.) on Saturday," JDHS athletic director Sandi Wagner said.
The Crimson Bears (12-4 overall, 2-2 Mid-Alaska Conference) actually had their Senior Night ceremonies while hosting fellow 4A squad Homer last weekend, but this weekend's games will give the team's six fourth-year players one last chance to play without the ceremonial jitters.
"One of the reasons we bumped up the Senior Night game was because there was no guarantee that we would dress the seniors against Monroe," head coach Dave McKenna said.
One of the reasons that McKenna could give his starters a rest this weekend is because the Rams sit in seventh place in the nine-team 2A/3A Greatland Conference at 3-7-1 overall, and 2-5-1 in the Greatland.
The Bears have sat their starters against 3A squads earlier this season, but the four upcoming MAC contests at West Valley and North Pole on Jan. 28-31 could motivate the coaches to get their seniors a workout.
Five of those seniors - John Carlson, Josh Mayer, Nolin Ainsworth, Albert Svensson and Chris Klawonn - have all been with the program since it started up for the 2005-06 season. The sixth, Andreas Keller, is an exchange student from Switzerland who has helped provide a boost to the Crimson Bears offense in their first year of conference play.
McKenna only dressed juniors and seniors for last week's slim Senior Night win over Homer, members of the Northstar Conference, on Saturday. That game was delayed when the zamboni first began to have problems, and the teams were forced to play on "dirty ice" for the first and second periods before getting the machine working properly.
The Crimson Bears routed Homer 7-0 on Friday, but actually trailed by a goal for most of Saturday's contest. Juneau-Douglas finally knotted up the score in the third period and came up with the game-winning goal in the final minute for the dramatic victory.
"It's tough to come back from a big win like we had on Friday, but Homer came back on us and really wanted to win," McKenna said. "They really wanted to get that second game from us and we worked hard for everything we got."
Juneau-Douglas will have a tough chore this weekend tring to top last week's dramatics, but the non-conference contests against Monroe Catholic will show if the team has shaken off the dramatics of Senior Night yet.
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