The Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team hosted the Tri-Valley Warriors this past weekend, losing one game and winning the next.
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"The kids were a little unsure of themselves the first night having been beaten so badly by them (Tri-Valley) last year," said head coach Steve Foster. "But after they played them the first night, they knew what to do and they took care of business."
In the first game, the Bears were outscored 5-3 through the first two periods. Although JDHS would rally with two goals in the final period, Tri-Valley added one more goal to secure the 5-6 win. Two Tri-Valley players scored "hat-tricks" by scoring 3 goals each.
Despite the loss, Foster said he believed the team forged a new level of confidence that allowed them to be victorious the following night. JDHS played a major portion of the final ten minutes short-handed.
"When we were skating 3-on-5 and still able to keep them off our back the kids start to see that, 'Hey, wait a minute, we can do this!' They saw that once they kick it up into high gear, they can do it."
Junior Andrew Ainsworth played a big part in the offensive effort for the Bears, scoring a goal and assisting on two others. Albert Svensson, a key to winning game one, netted a goal and an assist. Also finding the net for JDHS was Evan Wood, Trevor Lynden, and captain James Gamez.
Gamez also led a valiant defensive effort that allowed only 23 shots to Tri-Valley in the loss. "He leads by example and I really enjoy having him (Gamez) on the team," Foster said.
Junior goalie Sam Post came on in the third period and also played well, stopping 5 of 6 shots against a Tri-Valley offense that had a big power play advantage.
Vincent Usibelli and Evan Venechuk were the story for Tri-Valley. They seemed to be everywhere on the ice, as each scored three goals and assisted on another. Goaltender Luke Jordan stopped 22 of 27 shots in the win.
In Saturday's action, the Bears rallied on the strength of a tenacious defense, and won 6-to-3. Tri-Valley scored the first goal early in the first period, but Juneau responded with three unanswered goals. Between the pipes, goalie Sam Post was solid, stopping 23-of-26 shots for JDHS.
"It truly was all about our defense," said Foster. "Before the second game we talked a lot about checking and what it means to make that sacrifice for your team. They took it to heart and, to the best of their abilities, they went out and did it."
Sophomore forward Albert Svensson scored two goals and assisted on another. Senior Nathan Hickok and junior Kacy Carlson each came up with a goal and an assist in the win. Seniors Ian Nankervis and Trevor Lynden each had a goal apiece.
Almost halfway through the year, JDHS is now 6-4.
The Bears host a tough Delta Junction team at Treadwell Arena this weekend. The puck drops at 7:45 in Friday's action and 6:30 on Saturday.