Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 6:14 PM on Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homer hockey team showing lots of potential

By Angelina Skowronski
For the Homer News

The Homer High School hockey team starts a new season, but this year comes with a little special surprise.

"This is the first time we've had a JV team which gives us a lot more players," said Head Hockey Coach Buck Laukitis. The junior varsity team is co-ed, comprised of seven girls and six boys.

Since a 2010 decision by the Alaska Schools Activities Association that allows large and small schools to combine forces in the area of team sports, the Mariner hockey team is now more like a Homer-Voznesenka-Nikolaevsk team.

End of the Road Shootout


Kevin Bell Arena

5:30 p.m. Thursday

Soldotna v. Bartlett

7:15 p.m. Thursday

Homer v. Delta Junction

5:30 p.m. Friday

Soldotna v. Delta Junction

7:15 p.m. Friday Homer v. Bartlett

Noon Saturday

Bartlett v. Delta Junction

2 p.m. Saturday

Homer v. Soldotna

Next Week

Wednesday, Nov. 23

6:30 p.m.

Homer v. Soldotna (home game)

"We have a lot of valuable Russian kids on the varsity team and they fit so well with everyone, I don't know who has integrated with who," said Laukitis

The co-op team allows Homer to be able to play large school hockey — teams with 30-50 players. Laukitis remembers seasons trying to scrape 10 kids together to play, now with the JV team, Homer hockey is 27 players strong.

Strong they are. Homer shut out Kenai 1-0 in an endowment game two weeks ago. This was Homer's first ever win against the Kardinals, a team who was one of the top in the state last season.

"The kids are working really hard and we are coaching at a high skill level. We have a talented team on our hands, but it is still early in the season and we have lots to work on," said Laukitis.

This weekend the Kevin Bell Arena is the site of the fifth annual "End of the Road Shootout" with Homer, Bartlett, Soldotna and Delta Junction representing three different conferences. Next Wednesday will be a home game against Soldotna at 7:45 p.m., only one of two games in Homer this season.

Top players all-conference goalie Alex Sanarov, twin brother Dennis Sanarov, senior Eric Rosencrans who scored the only goal against the last game against Kenai, senior Kai Simmons, and Mark Reutov expect to make a few wins at the shootout.

"Most teams in the conference lost seven to eight seniors, we only lost two seniors. On paper we look good, but we have to wait and see how we perform," Laukitis said.

The added strength of players from Voznesenka and Nikolaevsk may mean good things for the Mariners' future.

"Hopefully we have turned the corner and we will be competitive," said Laukitis. 'We've got some really talented players and it's going to be fun."

Wesley Remmer of the Peninsula Clarion contributed to this story.