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Despite losing all three games at the End of the Road Shootout tournament in Homer over the weekend, the Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team should find plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
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JDHS fell 5-3 to Delta Junction on Friday and 10-5 to Glenallen on Saturday to finish the tournament winless. The Crimson Bears (1-3) opened the tournament Thursday with an 11-2 loss to the host Mariners.
"Let me start out with I enjoyed this tournament so much," JDHS coach Steve Foster said. "I'm trying to schedule us back next year. The hospitality was phenomenal. The coaches kept asking us if we needed anything. The tournament director was making sure we had water in our locker room after every period.
"The scores are what the scores are, but in reality, we took nothing bad from the tournament. We got experience. All those boring drills in practice suddenly made sense."
In Saturday's five-goal defeat to Glenallen, JDHS allowed eight goals in the second period but scored three in the third to keep the score respectable. Kacy Carlson and Andrew Ainsworth had two goals each while T.J. Preston had one. Ainsworth, Albert Svensson and Trevor Lyden contributed assists in the defeat.
"Kacy had a darn good tournament," Foster said. "He passed the puck well and was being a real team leader on the ice. He was talking and being very encouraging."
Ainsworth's first goal gave JDHS a 1-1 tie after one period of play. Glenallen stormed out in the second period, however, to build an insurmountable lead.
"They played a good game and didn't let down when we thought they would at the end of the tournament," Foster said.
On Friday, Delta Junction raced to a 4-1 lead in the first period and added a tally late in the third to pick up the win. The Crimson Bears scored in each period. Despite the loss, the two-goal defeat represented a drastic improvement from the last time the two team tangled. Delta beat JDHS twice by a combined score of 22-7 last season.
"The bottom line on that game was that when they were here they beat us by 10-12 goals," Foster said. "This time, they were holding by the seat of their pants."
Nate Hickok scored two goals to lead the Crimson Bears and Lydon added another goal. Evan Wood had two assists while Preston and Carlson contributed one assist each.
"The score wasn't indicative of the play, but that was a reoccurring theme of our weekend," Foster said. "We would scrap and play an excellent game just to have them march down and score. Blame it on defense, poor backchecking ... I'm not sure. But when it came down to them marching down to the net, we couldn't stop them."
JDHS makes its home debut this weekend against Kenny Lake.
More photos can be see at Spotted