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The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team showed off their passing and shooting skills this weekend with 8-1 victories on Friday and Saturday over Kenai Central's junior varsity at Treadwell Arena.
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The Crimson Bears (5-3) outshot the Kardinals in both games by a total of 111-14, but most importantly, showed maturity and savvy on the ice by sharing the puck and maintaining constant pressure in the offensive zone.
"It feels phenomenal," JDHS center Ian Nankervis said. "That's the greatest feeling in the world. You just get this huge adrenaline rush. It's really exciting."
Nankervis led an impressive offensive showing by the Bears on Saturday with two goals and two assists. His second goal, coming late in the third period, electrified the home crowd. Nankervis hustled to a loose puck at center ice, beat one Kenai defender and placed a perfect shot past Kenai Central goaltender Matt Barrett for the Bears' eighth goal of the night.
"That goal was on shear effort and stickhandling, and he's been hiding that from me," JDHS coach Steve Foster said. "That stickhandling he pulled out right there was a new one on me. I will be encouraging that for the future."
Freshman Zane Chapman scored twice, both off assists from fellow freshman Robin Woodby for JDHS. Josh Mayer and Nate Hickok also score two goals each in the win.
In order to score, however, the Crimson Bears were forced to fight through Kenai's stout goaltender, Barrett. The sophomore made 48 saves on Saturday and battled hard throughout the contest.
"He's definitely the workhorse of this team," Kenai coach Chris Bouwens said of Barrett. "Without him, we'd be lost pretty much. I think this is the sixth game in a row he's faced 50-plus shots.
"He gets frustrated from time to time but he hangs in there. He's a big morale-booster for this team."
Kelsey Preston made four saves and Sam Post stopped two shots for JDHS.
Coming off a two-week layoff, Juneau-Douglas look refreshed and focused against Kenai on Friday. With crisp passing and an aggressive but controlled attitude, the Crimson Bears racked up 55 shots on goal en route to an 8-1 Friday victory.
"We are actually pretty happy," Foster said on Friday. "It's not about the score, it's about the way they played. The kids had it together tonight. They passed real well. From the very beginning it was evident that they were a happier team."
The Crimson Bears entered the game with a clear-cut plan and executed it well. Instead of rushing up the ice at every opportunity, Juneau-Douglas employed a passing game and moved the puck all over Treadwell Arena.
With solid breakout passes and by establishing dominance in the offensive zone, JDHS made Kenai goaltender Barrett work for every one of his 43 saves. Juneau's ability to share the puck also showed in the score sheet.
Seven players scored goals, with Mayer recording two tallies. Nankervis, Albert Svensson, Logan Miller, Hickok, Chapman and Chris Budbill all found the net in the win.
A key to getting so many goals was by putting bodies in front of Barrett. By employing screens while moving the puck diagonally in the zone, JDHS pounded the crease with multiple shots.
"(We practiced on) a lot of in-front-of-the-net traffic and how to finish in front of the net," JDHS assistant coach Luke Adams said on Friday.
Kalee Alsworth provided Kenai's lone goal on a nifty backhand shot midway through the first period. Alsworth's tally made the score 1-1 before Svensson have JDHS a lead with an unassisted goal.
Carrying a 2-1 lead after one period, JDHS put the game away with three goals in the first 4:25 of the second period.
JDHS goaltender Alex Vick stopped 6 of 7 shots in Friday's win.
The Crimson Bears will take host a series against Tri-Valley next weekend at Treadwell Arena. The Viking Warriors swept two games from JDHS last season.
"The measuring stick will be the next two series of games," Foster said of Tri-Valley next weekend and Delta Junction on Dec. 8-9. "Those two series are going to tell us more of where we stand in the state of Alaska."
JDHS 8, Kenai Central JV 1
JDHS 2 3 3 - 8
KC 1 0 0 - 0
First Period - JD, Nankervis (unassisted), 8:30; KC, Alsworth (Fusaro, Cheek), 6:13; JD, Svensson (unassisted).
Second Period - JD, Miller (A. Ainsworth, Svensson), 15:59; JD, Hickok (unassisted), 14:43; JD, Mayer (Nankervis), 12:35.
Third Period - JD, Chapman (Klawonn), 16:06; JD, Budbill (Hickok), 6:43; JD, Mayer (Mow, Rutecki), :29.
Shots on goal - Juneau-Douglas 23-18-14-55; Kenai Central 2-2-3-7.
Power-play opportunities - Juneau-Douglas 1-7; Kenai Central 0-5.
Goalies - Juneau-Douglas, Vick 1-2-3 (7 shots-6 saves); Kenai Central, Barrett 21-25-11 (55 shots, 47 saves).
JDHS 8, Kenai Central JV 1
JDHS 1 3 4 - 8
KC 1 0 0 - 1
First Period - JD, Nankervis (unassisted), 15:58; KC, Cheek (Jones, Sutton), 9:25.
Second Period - JD, Mayer (Nankervis), 8:56; JD, Hickok (unassisted), 7:43; JD, Mayer (Nankervis, N. Ainsworth), 5:40.
Third Period - JD, Chapman (Woodby), 14:56; JD, Hickok (Wood), 5:06; JD, Chapman (Woodby), 4:07; JD, Nankervis (unassisted), 3:06.
Shots on goal - Juneau-Douglas, 15-24-17-56; Kenai Central, 4-1-2-7.
Power-play opportunities - Juneau-Douglas, 0-3; Kenai Central, 0-2.
Goalies - Juneau-Douglas, Preston 3-1 (5 shots-4 saves), Post 2-2 (2 shots-2 saves); Kenai Central, Barrett 14-21-13 (56 shots-48 saves).
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com.