Bears' playoff bid blocked

Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2011

The future of the Crimson Bears’ season became clear after Friday night’s 4-3 loss to Houston ended the Juneau-Douglas hockey team’s playoff hopes for the 2010-11 season, but that didn’t keep JDHS from going out on a high note on senior night.

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MICHAEL PENN / Michael Penn
MICHAEL PENN / Michael Penn

Four different Bears combined to score five goals in the opening period as Juneau-Douglas had an offensive eruption that put the game away for good in a 6-2 win Saturday. After a heart-breaking loss Friday night, going out on top was the only option for the seniors.

“From the beginning, we just came out firing pucks at the goalie,” Senior Trever Held said. “We came out firing, got the first two and kept going. We weren’t going to stop.”

Freshman Zach Easton got the scoring started with a putback of an Eric Verrelli shot, and the offensive fireworks didn’t stop there.

Junior Billy Holbrook followed with two of his own, and sophomore Logan Hulse and junior Zach Bicknell pitched in two more in the period as the game quickly got out of hand for Houston.

“The mindset was we still wanted to win. You always want to go out with a win, at least,” Held said. “This was our last game and we wanted to skate hard.

“It feels like yesterday I was a little kid sitting on the glass watching these guys skate out, thinking someday I’d be on that team. Now four years have gone by and it’s hard to believe.”

Verrelli, another senior, said despite not making the playoffs, skating off the ice as a winner for the final time is the way to go out.

“Nothing beats it. It’s been a long season and it’s been a great season,” he said. “It’s been a long four years and I’ve loved every minute of it.

“We just wanted to show them what’s up, and we did. Tonight we were ready to go as hard as we can.”

Juneau-Douglas finished the season 8-10-1, 1-6-1 in conference play.

“(Friday) night was a disappointment, but Houston earned it. They came out and played a good game,” JDHS coach Dave McKenna said. “I think everybody just wanted this to be a positive experience for the guys going out. They deserved a strong finish.”

Houston wins opener

The Friday night game promised to set the tone for the entire weekend. The Crimson Bears just wish they would have been the ones to set it.

Houston’s Rye Humphreys scored his fourth goal of the night with 6:23 remaining to down Juneau-Douglas 4-3 at Treadwell Arena.

Humphreys’ tiebreaking goal secured the victory and a playoff berth for the Hawks, who now sit in third place in the Mid-Alaska Conference, but it was a late first-period sequence that gave Houston all the momentum it needed.

Deadlocked at one goal apiece with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first, Humphreys scored two goals in 14 seconds to turn a 1-1 game into a 3-1 advantage in the blink of an eye.

“Anytime you let in a goal in the last minute of a period, it’s a crusher,” Bears coach Dave McKenna said.

The win gave Houston four points in the standings and secured the team’s first-ever berth in the upcoming conference playoffs.

Cody Lipse and Zach Lovelace assisted on Humphreys’ first score, getting on the board first less than two minutes into the contest. JDHS senior Eric Verrelli responded two minutes later with a goal of his own to force the early tie off an assist from junior Billy Holbrook and senior Trever Held.

After Humphreys’ game-changing two-goal sequence late in the first, Juneau-Douglas kept itself in the game with a Holbrook goal less than two minutes into the second period. Another Crimson Bears’ score by Held knotted the game back up at 3-3, but Humphreys’ goal four minutes later put the Patriots back on top for good.

The trio of Verrelli, Held and Holbrook combined to account for every JDHS goal on Friday with each player scoring once and handing out two assists in the loss.

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