The Mariners hosted Kenai, Hutchison, Glennallen, Bartlett, Delta and Houston in the 2012 End of the Road Shootout last Thursday through Saturday.
Homer proved to be the dominant team, coming away with an uncontested 4-0 record and the Shootout’s first place trophy. The Mariners’ offensive dominance was the answer for every team that they faced, outscoring all opponents 28-5 for the weekend.
Coach Buck Laukitis credited the offensive tempo of all three lines: “What makes us effective is that we can overwhelm other teams, like when we scored five goals in eight minutes against Hutchison. … It’s great when all three lines are contributing top to bottom.”
Homer began the tournament on Thursday, shutting out Delta 11-0 and setting the pace for the rest of the weekend. Junior Tommy Bowe put in a hat trick after scoring two goals early in the first period. Owen Delhanty and Kiril Sanarov also had two goals in this one-sided affair.
Friday night had Homer matched up with Hutchison. After giving up a goal in the first period, Homer went on a five-point rally in the second to seal it up at 5-1. This set up a 9 a.m. Saturday game against the Glennallen Panthers. Markian Dolushkin played goalie, allowing one point off only nine shots on Homer. Konstonkin Reutov scored a hat trick as the Mariners prevailed, 7-1.
“There have been a lot of untested defensive players this year, either new to the team or new to the position and they really proved themselves this weekend. We have plenty to work on, but all three lines did an extremely good job,” said Laukitis.
Homer then took on the Houston Hawks for the Shootout’s final match. Kiril Reutov scored twice and tallied an assist to help the Mariners win in their closest game of the weekend, 5-3. Houston’s Lane Steyer led the game with two goals. Bartlett took second place in the Shootout with a 3-0-1 record after a tie game against Houston. Hutchison took third place holding a 3-1 record.
Coach Laukitis was happy with his team’s depth.
“We had a lot of firsts this weekend. A lot of kids got their first varsity action, first goals, and game winners. That tells me that the young players are contributing, and that’s what it’s going to take.”
The all-tournament team for the End of the Road Shootout was named earlier this week. All-tourney players were Homer forward Tommy Bowe, Houston forward Jonathon Lovelace, Hutchison forward Justin Boots, Hutchison defenseman Dylan Sands, Bartlett defenseman Mason Rafter and Homer goalie Alex Sanarov.
Fresh off the Shootout wins, the Mariners played Soldotna on Tuesday and were defeated by the Stars 2-0.
With 3 minutes, 49 seconds left in the game, Soldotna held a 1-0 lead, but forward Jarrett Urban was penalized for roughing up Homer’s goalie, Alex Sanarov, and put in the box 10 minutes for a misconduct infraction (as well as a 2-minute roughing penalty).
That was supposed to give Homer a powerplay chance, but the Mariners never had the opportunity, due to a referee calling a “fan misconduct” penalty on the Homer team.
“Our fans were cheering for us pretty loud, and I guess the refs thought it was too much,” Laukitis said.
After a Soldotna goal from Nick Wrobel in the second period to give the Stars the lead, Homer was hoping for a comeback.
Ultimately, Wrobel iced the game with a goal 41 seconds into the penalty with an assist from Shayne Miller.
Homer edged Soldotna on shots with 29, compared to 28 for the Stars, and Homer outshot Soldotna 11-7 in the third period, but came up empty-handed.
“We had a two-to-one break at their goalie, but we just didn’t convert on the play,” Laukitis said about the end of the game. “There was a nice pass to Tommy Bowe, but it didn’t work out. I guess we just had heavy legs.”
Homer will travel to Houston this Friday to compete in the Houston Tournament, but Laukitis is hesitant to say the team expects to win, due to the Sanarov brothers — Alex, Dennis and Kiril — vacationing to Hawaii and therefore missing the tournament.
Stars 2, Mariners 0
Homer00 0 —0
1st period — None.
2nd period — 1. Soldotna, Wrobel (unassisted), 1:57.
3rd period — 2. Soldotna, Wrobel (Miller), 11:52.
Goalies — Soldotna, Harvey (29 shots, 29 saves); Homer, A. Sanarov (28 shots, 26 saves).