• Mariners look to finish in top 2 in league play
By Sean Pearson
A shorthanded Mariner hockey team beat the Kenai Kardinals 3-0 last week at Kevin Bell Arena to give Homer goalie Markian Polushkin his first varsity shutout.
With several players out of town or celebrating with their families during the Thanksgiving holiday, the M’s had to rely on their deep bench to survive against the Kardinals.
Clem Tillion opened the scoring for the M’s, finding the back of the net for an unassisted goal just 5 minutes into the first period. Tillion pushed one past the Kenai goalie, just as a Homer power play was expiring.
To add insult to injury, Carson Duggar took a Kenai turnover and turned it into a goal, this time scoring within the first five minutes of period two and during a Kenai power play. Duggar picked up an assist from Tommy Bowe in the scoring process.
Later in the second period, Nikit Matveev turned a Konstantin Reutov assist into what would be the third and final score of the game.
“A win is a win, but we were definitely shorthanded,” said Homer Head Coach Buck Laukitis. “Markian Polushkin did a great job in goal. He kept the team together and is a great leader.”
Polushkin turned away 20 Kardinal shots on goal.
Laukitis said Anton Kuzmin and Ulian Kuzmin also each turned in an outstanding effort, as did Clem Tillion’s line.
“The game was a great confidence-builder and conference win,” Laukitis said. “We’ve played a lot of good hockey in the last couple of weeks.”
Junior forward Tommy Bowe agreed.
“We make it a point of pride to get better every day at practice,” Bowe said. “We have a full schedule of practices this week and three next week, so we can only get better.”
Senior captain Carson Duggar said he is happy to have a week of practice with no games, where the team can rest and recover.
“We have the trip to Juneau on Dec. 21 and 22, so we won’t have a whole lot of down time,” Duggar explained. “But sometimes a week off of practice is just what the team needs.”
Duggar said the team has some “huge” games next week, as they square off against Sohi on Tuesday, then head to the Valley to play Colony, Palmer and Wasilla over the weekend.
“All four games are league games, so, we need to play hard if we want to reach our goal and be in the top two after league play,” he said.
Not everyone on the team will be enjoying some down time over the break, however.
“Some of us have a tournament for the Kenai Under-16 team in Vancouver, Canada between Christmas and New Year,” Bowe said of his plans for the break. “Coach definitely encourages us to get out and play some hockey during break time.”
And, even when they aren’t out on the ice practicing, Tillion said the team members have plenty of hockey-type stuff to keep them busy during the break.
“When we are not at practice, Coach will send us videos to watch,” he said. “It gives us a chance to think over and study techniques.”
Laukitis said that, after one month of play, the team is now at the halfway point in the season,
“The second half of the season will be spread out over the next two months,” he said. “We’re all having fun, achieving a lot and getting better.”
The Mariners currently stand at 7-3 for the season, and Duggar said the plan is to just keep rolling along. Tillion agreed, adding that he is pretty happy with what the team has accomplished so far and hopes to encourage more folks to participate.
“Hockey is a fun sport and more people in Homer should play it,” he said.
Homer JV falls in season opener
Homer’s junior varsity team opens its season with a 1-2 loss at home to the Kardinal JV squad.
Kenai scored in the first period, and then things turned relatively quiet for quite some time. In the third period, Homer’s Ulian Kuzmin tied things up with a wrist shot off a feed by Owen Delehanty. Homer picked up two penalties in the game, and held off a five on three Kenai power play.
Then, with three minutes left in the game, Kenai took the lead for the final time of the night.
“The team played well, and it was great to see kids play who haven’t gotten much game time,” said JV coach Chris Brown. “A couple of these players will move up to varsity in the next couple of weeks.”
The line-up for the JV squad included Ivy Bloom, Owen Delehanty, JJ Sonnen, Dawson Roberts, Hanna LaRue, Anton Kuzmin, Caroline DeCreeft, Marvick Ivanov, Maggie LaRue, Markian Polushkin, Clem Tillion and Hannah Baird.
Ivy Bloom, playing in her first game of the season, said the experience was good, but very fast-paced.
“It was more intense and pushes you harder to play better,” she said. “It helps you play up to your potential.”
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