The Mariner hockey team blazed through three games in the last week, with a 7-1 loss to Wasilla on Friday, a 3-3 tie in action with Palmer on Saturday, both games played in Homer, and, in a rematch against the Kenai Kardinals on Tuesday, a 5-3 loss.
In Tuesday’s North Star Conference game, played at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex, the back-and-forth action did not disappoint. Both goalies were on point, with Markian Polushkin making 28 saves for the Mariners (0-2-1 NSC) and Nate O’Lena turning aside 23 shots for the Kardinals. Just one penalty was called during the evening.
Kenai defeated Homer in November, and Kenai Coach Pete Iverson was impressed with the Mariners improvement.
“It seemed like whenever we gave them the chance, they were down in our end taking a shot on net,” he said.
The first period had no goals, but things picked up in the second period as the teams combined for six goals. Just 14 seconds into the second, Kenai’s Dalton Dosko hit Jake Eubank in the slot, where he wristed the puck over Polushkin’s glove. TJ Wagoner also assisted.
Homer came right back with 9:33 left. Clem Tillion found JJ Sonnen at the point. Sonnen put the puck on net and Ulian Kuzmin knocked in the rebound.
Hanson carried the puck up the ice and streaked behind the net. He momentarily lost it, but got it back and put a backhand through Polushkin’s five-hole, aided by Eubank. Homer came back to tie. With 4:11 left in the period, Owen Delehanty scored from the slot. Dawson Roberts and Tommy Bowe had assists.
With 3:18 left, Eubank found Wagoner in the slot for a goal. Then, with 1:54 remaining in the period, Hanson drove the net and stuffed the puck in for a 4-2 lead. Isaac Mese and Cody Arbelovsky had assists.
In the third period, Mariner Anton Kuzmin cut the lead to 4-3.
Both teams had chances aplenty down the homestretch. With 4:41, Kard defenseman Michael Tilly rushed up the ice and put a shot on Polushkin, with Hanson cleaning up the rebound.
Kardinals 5, Mariners 3
Homer0 2 1 — 3
Kenai 0 4 1 — 5
First period — none. Penalties — none.
Second period — 1. Kenai, Eubank (Wagoner, Dosko), 0:14; 2. Homer, U. Kuzmin (Tillion, Sonnen), 5:27; 3. Kenai, Hanson (un.), 7:45; 4. Homer, Delehanty (Roberts, Bowe), 10:49; 5. Kenai, Wagoner (Eubank, Dosko), 11:42; 6. Kenai, Hanson (Mese, Arbelovsky), 13:06. Penalties — none.
Third period — 7. Homer, A. Kuzmin (un.), pp, 5:06; 8. Kenai, Hanson (Tilly), 10:19. Penalties — Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Homer 8-9-9—26; Kenai 10-14-9—33.
Goalies — Homer, Polushkin (33 shots, 28 saves); Kenai, O’Lena (26 shots, 23 saves).
Power plays — Homer 1 for 1;
Kenai 0 for 0.