Eighty skaters and scores of fans enjoyed the annual Ash Cup, a men’s hockey tournament, played last weekend at the Kevin Bell Arena. The name Ash Cup comes from the tournament’s first year, when Mount Augustine erupted.
Six teams participated this year: three local teams, plus teams from Wasilla, Kenai and Anchorage.
“Team Duggan picked up the red lantern prize for the team having the most fun while playing darn good hockey,” according to a press release. The Wasilla team had a strong showing with several close games and boasting a tournament high, two female skaters who held their own against the men.
The Down East had great games against the Salty Dawgs and the Flyers, anchored by goalie Lydia Brown, who had an excellent tournament. The Salty Dawgs, sponsored by the saloon that bears the same name, had a great showing. The team was made up of young men from the Old Believer villages, mostly former Mariner skaters and with Alex Sanarov in goal. They had the largest, most vocal fan base.
The Flyers from Anchorage lived up to their billing and finished a runner-up to the tournament champs, The Rusty Blades of Kenai, who finished with an undefeated record.
In the skills competition, Bret Bohn of Wasilla won the passing portion; Josh Pitta of Duggan’s Pub, puck handling; Dominick Eubanks of the Rusty Blades squeaked out a win over Pitta in speed skating; Scott Peters of the Flyers won the shooting accuracy competition; Eubanks won the hardest shot competition with an 84-mile-an-hour slap shot; Travis Brown of the Down East won the shootout competition with a perfect 3 out of 3 goals; and Alex Sanarov was the best shootout goalie stopping 10 out of 12 shots.
“It was a fun field and the hockey was great,” said organizers, thanking the teams who travelled to Homer and the local teams for showing them a good time. Tournament sponsors were The Sawlty Dawg Tavern, Land’s End Resort and Fritz Creek General Store. Thanks to the efforts of Brad Needham and Matt Stineff, the conditions at the rink were excellent, organizers said.