Fueled by two sold-out crowds, the Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team delivered plenty of big hits and heart-stopping saves in its first two games in school history.
The Crimson Bears gave the fans at Treadwell Arena everything they could on Friday and Saturday, except a victory.
Tri-Valley High School (10-1) from Healy defeated JDHS 10-2 on Friday and 9-1 on Saturday to mar the opening weekend in Juneau high school hockey history.
"For taking a couple of pretty good beatings, they did well," JDHS coach Steve Foster said. "They're still feeling pretty good about themselves.
Friday, Juneau-Douglas played nonstop physical hockey that electrified the crowd but led to breakaway goals for the Viking Warriors. The Crimson Bears struggled at clearing shots around their own net, which led to plenty of rebound chances for Tri-Valley.
Tri-Valley scored six goals in the second period Friday to earn the win.
Tri-Valley lit the lamp first at 8:28 into the first period as Kevin Clark scored with an assist from Garrett Ludwig.
Juneau-Douglas refused to buckle under, however, and knotted the score just 20 seconds later.
Senior center Riley Hall scored the first goal in JDHS history when he deposited a pass from Albert Svensson past Viking Warriors goaltender Eli Harris.
"It was all Albert's pass," Hall said. "I had a quick shot and it rebounded to the side. Albert gave me a great pass, and I just go in the way of it."
Despite allowing 10 goals, JDHS freshman goaltender Kelsey Preston played an outstanding game.
Preston turned aside 48 of the 58 shots she faced and did an outstanding job of keeping the Crimson Bears in the game as long as she could. Tri-Valley outshot JDHS 58-7 in the win.
"I just tried to focus," Preston said. "I lost it a little bit in the second period, but in the third I was able to focus."
Foster said, "She does well under pressure and she has a history of that. ... She just went out there and stood on her ear. She came out fighting."
With the score 2-1 after the first period, Tri-Valley came out strong in the second 17 minutes. The Viking Warriors tallied six straight goals before Andrew Ainsworth got one back late in the period.
Ainsworth scored off a scramble in front off an assist from Hall.
Tri-Valley scored two more goals in the third period to seal Friday's win.
On Saturday, Juneau-Douglas played under control and focused as it played a nip-and-tuck first period with Tri-Valley.
Joey Arquette scored a shorthanded goal two minutes in but the Crimson Bears' defense stiffened and held the Viking Warriors' lead to 1-0.
JDHS also generated some quality scoring chances but couldn't beat Harris in the first 17 minutes.
"They're learning each other," Foster said. "We have not done any offensive zone training at all. None. We haven't had time to. I had to teach them how to practice first. I had to teach them how to break out of the zone. We've done a little bit of neutral-zone transition. We have not had the time to get into offensive training. What you're seeing in the offensive zone right now is the result of their (Juneau Douglas Ice Association youth league) coaches."
Juneau experienced another rough second period Saturday as Tri-Valley scored four goals in a span of 8:03 to extend its lead to 5-0.
Juneau-Douglas got one back in the third period as Hall netted the first power play goal in school history.
Hall collected a rebound from an Ainsworth shot and slipped a backhanded shot past Harris to make the score 5-1. Tri-Valley refused to yield, however, and tacked on four more goals to ice the win.
Despite the 9-1 final score, Juneau-Douglas showed improvement on both ends of the ice.
"They just have to get used to getting beat up," Foster said. "They're not used to somebody having the option of physically taking them out of the play that hard."
Tri-Valley outshot Juneau-Douglas 53-42 in the game. Juneau-Douglas goaltender Alex Vick made 37 saves in loss. Preston took over midway through the third period and turned aside five shots.
Juneau-Douglas next plays Delta Junction on Jan. 6-7.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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