The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team won both its contests with Kenny Lake before it even stepped on the ice.
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Due to injuries and travel, the Hawks brought just six skaters and one goaltender to Treadwell Arena. Therefore, JDHS won both games 1-0 via forfeit.
The teams did play exhibitions, however, Friday and Saturday. After a sluggish 4-2 win on Friday, JDHS rebounded with an 8-1 victory over Kenny Lake Saturday.
"We changed as a hockey team in the second game," JDHS coach Steve Foster said Saturday. "We definitely played a more teamwork game and the players were on top of what they're supposed to be doing."
With the score tied 1-1 after the first period, the Crimson Bears exploded for four goals in the second period and three more in the third to ice the win. Andrew Ainsworth recorded a hat trick with an assist and Kacy Carlson had two goals and an assist in the win. Also for JDHS (3-3), Evan Wood, Nate Hickok and Trevor Lyden all scored goals while James Gamez had three assists. Wood, T.J. Preston and Chris Klawonn added assists in the win.
Despite the score, Juneau-Douglas struggled to stay out of the penalty box. The team committed 11 penalties and lost Preston for the first game against Kenai Central on Dec. 1 when he received a major penalty in the third period. Under Alaska School Activities Association guidelines, a player who commits a major penalty in the third period is ejected from the game and misses the team's next contest.
"The players need to learn how to adapt to the referee," Foster said Saturday. "The attitude needs to change and the hockey mentality isn't quite there yet. But I was proud of the team tonight, not because of the score, but because of the way they behaved. They acted like a team."
JDHS played Saturday without sophomore playmaker Albert Svensson after the referee whistled him for a five-minute major in the third period of Friday's game.
On Friday, Juneau-Douglas came out flat and struggled to a 4-2 exhibition victory over Kenny Lake. The Hawks played a fundamentally sound game and kept the game competitive throughout all three periods. Despite having just eight players - JDHS loaned Nick Rutecki and Zane Chapman to Kenny Lake for the game - the Hawks limited the Crimson Bears' offensive opportunities by playing solid defense.
"Our passing was pathetic, our forechecking was slow, we weren't on our game," Foster said Friday. "That's not the group of kids I've been training with the last few weeks."
While JDHS wasn't happy with a two-goal win, Kenny Lake first year coach Bob Jones lauded his team's effort.
"Kenny Lake has a history of skating short and doing a great job scrapping," Jones said Friday. "That's all we can do. We can't play pretty, we can't play smooth, we just have to get in there and scrap."
With the score tied 1-1 late in the second period, JDHS gave itself some breathing room as Josh Mayer and Wood scored 1:06 apart from each other to give the Bears a 3-1 lead. Svensson scored in the third period for JDHS before Adrina Knutson found the net for Kenny Lake with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Ainsworth had a goal and two assists while James Gamez added an assist in the win.
Goaltenders Sam Post, Kelsey Preston and Alex Vick each played a period for JDHS. The trio combined to make 17 saves. JDHS frequently found itself in trouble Friday by committing penalties. The Crimson Bears were whistled for 10 infractions opposed to two by Kenny Lake.
Juneau-Douglas will host Kenai at Treadwell Arena on Dec. 1-2.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com.