The Homer Mariners took to the road for their final hockey game of the regular season on Saturday, defeating the Kenai Kardinals in varsity action 6-2 in a game held in Soldotna’s Sports Center.
The Mariners showed up ready to play, drawing first blood in the opening period with a backhand shot from Owen Delehanty. Clem Tillion was awarded the assist. A couple minutes later, Kenai tried to match the Mariners’ intensity by playing more physical, leading to early Homer power plays and a Kiril Sanarov goal with assists from Konstantin Reutov and Nikit Matveev. Late in the first period, Kenai was able to trim the lead to one with no intentions of slowing down.
The physical play escalated in the second period which accounted for many penalties called on both teams, but Homer’s Tommy Bowe showed his focus, netting back-to-back goals on his way to another hat trick.
The Mariner defense matched Kenai’s intensity and then some, limiting scoring chances, ending the third period with a 4-1 lead.
The third period was all Homer as Kiril Sanarov scored his second goal of the night in short order on another power play with assists from Reutov and Matveev. Kenai was able to sneak another goal in midway through the period before Bowe answered by completing his hat trick on the final goal of the night.
Bowe took the puck around the back of the net, coming up on the other side where he slapped a shot in the upper net, just above the goaltender’s arm, ending their regular season with a four point victory.
“Special teams made the difference,” said Coach Buck Laukitis after the game.
“I thought our penalty kill was really good. We fought through some adversity and stayed focused and poised under pressure in the second period. We scored four of our six goals on the power play. That is exceptional. All three lines scored, and we had
outstanding individual performances from Tommy Bowe and Kiril Sanarov.”
With a tie for third place in the
conference, the Mariners will have to wait until after the coin toss to see who they face first at the regional tournament this
weekend at the Menard Sports Center in Wasilla.
“Our defense is solid and our goal tending is good. Everyone is playing with confidence,” said Laukitis
“We’ll see what we can do. We ended up tied for third in the conference with Colony. Heading into the region tournament there is no pressure on us. We just want to go and see how good we can get.”