Homer hockey weathers rough road against big teams

• Mariner fans hit with misconduct penalty for being too loud
By Sean Pearson
Homer Tribune

Photo by Mark Wayne - Carson Duggar takes a shot in the Mariners’ losing effort against the Soldotna Stars last Tuesday. The Stars handed Homer their first loss of the season in a 2-0 showdown.

Photo by Mark Wayne - Carson Duggar takes a shot in the Mariners’ losing effort against the Soldotna Stars last Tuesday. The Stars handed Homer their first loss of the season in a 2-0 showdown.

In a sport where professional athletes routinely make the Sportscenter highlights after pummeling each other bloody on the ice, you’d think it would take a relatively high decibel level in the hockey rink to warrant a fan misconduct penalty for being loud.
Turns out, you would be wrong.
When the Homer Mariner Co-op Hockey team faced off against the Soldotna Stars at home last Tuesday, a rowdy crowd of Mariner fans turned out to Kevin Bell Arena to support their M’s.
Homer fans began banging on the glass early in the game; certainly something not unheard-of in hockey circles. Some were banging with fists, others with pucks, and the referee issued a warning. Homer fans complied, until one fan hit the glass again, just before the puck dropped at the face off.
The result was a minor penalty on Homer’s bench that erased a Mariner power play.
However, the penalty – one of only three for Homer – would have little impact on the overall game, as the Stars edged Homer 2-0.
“The puck didn’t really bounce our way, but we also didn’t make enough opportunities for ourselves,” said Homer Coach Buck Laukitis. “We out-shot them, but couldn’t find a way to win.”
Some of those opportunities came in the form of power plays for the Mariners, as an aggressive Soldotna team racked up eight penalties, leaving the Stars short on the ice for 16 minutes of the game. Homer still struggled to find the back of the net, unable to capitalize on any power-play advantages.
The game was the Mariners’ first loss of the year.
Hoping to bounce back and refocus, Homer traveled to Wasilla on Thursday to participate in the ninth-annual Curtis C. Menard II Memorial Hockey Tournament that took place over the weekend. The Mariners looked strong, beating Houston 4-1. Goalie Markian Polushkin stopped 36 of 37 shots on goal, and kept his team in the game until they could work out a few bugs.
Carson Duggar picked up two goals for the game, but not without help. Duggar took an assist from Tommy Bowe and Connor McCarron to score his first goal, while McCarron and Ethan Kizzia assisted on Duggar’s second goal. Konstantin Reutov scored an unassisted goal, and Clem Tillion got an open-net goal at the end of the game, when Houston pulled their goalie. Nikit Matveev was named player of the game.
On Friday, the Mariners hit the ice against East Anchorage High School. The M’s scored first against the Thunderbirds, but struggled to control their top line’s speed and fell 3-10.
“We scored a few goals and generated some offense, but we had long lapses of defensive coverage all over the ice,” Laukitis said. “Good teams make you turn the puck over, and we gave up our share of easy turnovers that resulted in East goals.”

Photo by Tracey Tillion - The Mariners skate against the Wasilla Warriors at Kevin Bell Arena last week.

Photo by Tracey Tillion - The Mariners skate against the Wasilla Warriors at Kevin Bell Arena last week.

Mavrik Ivanov picked up two goals in the game, and Duggar was named player of the game.
Things didn’t get any prettier on Saturday, as Homer was shut out 7-0 by the Lathrop Malemutes.
“We knew what we were up against, but we just weren’t deep enough,” Laukitis said. “We had three players gone.”
Sanarov brothers Alex, Dennis and Kiril took time off for vacation and did not travel with the team to Wasilla.
The Mariners were outshot 57-15.
Laukitis said the team knew going in that some of the best hockey teams in the state would be playing in the Wasilla tournament.
“At a certain point in the game, with a young team, you just stop looking at the scoreboard and stay focused on working on things with your players,” Laukitis said. “We had some very good shifts, but good teams play well the entire game. We played well about half the game.”
Konstantin Reutov was named player of the game against Lathrop. Laukitis said the senior forward is notable as one of the “fastest and craftiest and fearless players for the Mariners.”
The coach also had good things to say about Ethan Kizzia, who turned in a strong defensive performance over the weekend.
“Coaches really appreciate how hard Ethan works and how responsible he is without the puck,” Laukitis said. “It might not show up on the score sheet every night, but Ethan is our best defensive forward right now on a team where everyone on the teams needs a good example of how to play.”
Laukitis added that Duggar played hard all weekend and continues to try to lead the team by example.
Homer hosted Kenai on Tuesday in both varsity and junior varsity play. Results from the games were not available by press time.

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Posted by on Nov 21st, 2012 and filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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