• Mariners score 12 goals off 110 shots in three games
By Sean Pearson
After giving up a 3-0 lead in last week’s tie with the Palmer Moose, Homer forward Ulian Kuzmin said his Mariner hockey team needed to “practice finishing strong.” Apparently a few teammates heeded that advice, as the Mariners finished the Houston Hockey Tournament in Big Lake on Saturday with a 7-4 win over North Pole, and the Championship trophy in hand.
“We won because we skated hard and finished our plays,” said senior and captain Tommy Bowe. Bowe picked up two goals and two assists in the championship game that saw Homer outshoot the Patriots 48-17. Bowe picked up his first goal early in the game off assists from Owen Delehanty and JJ Sonnen. Delehanty also scored in the first period, thanks to an assist from Clem Tillion.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” Delehanty said of his goal. “The goalie slid way over to cover the shot, but the pass came to me and I just brought it over to my backhand and put it in.” Bowe scored again in the second period, this time off a feed from Konstantin Reutov.
Junior forward Kiril Sanarov added an unassisted goal to bring the Mariners’ point total to four. Remarkably — despite the 48-17 shot differential — the Patriots also had four points going into the third period. Determined to finish strong, Homer punched in three unanswered goals and secured the 7-4 win. Third-period goals were scored by Reutov, assisted by Bowe and Dawson Roberts; Sanarov, assisted by Roberts; and Delehanty assisted by Bowe. Mariner Riley Swanson tended goal, and Roberts was honored as player of the game. The M’s got off to a good start in the tournament with a 2-1 win over host Houston on Thursday.
The Hawks scored first and held onto a 1-0 lead going into the third period, despite taking only 12 shots on goal to Homer’s 38. The Mariners couldn’t find the back of the net until the third period, when Roberts finally scored off an assist from Sonnen.
The Mariners followed up with a game-winning goal by Anton Kuzmin off an assist from Bowe. Both of Homer’s goals came from the defense and were scored on the powerplay. Riley Swanson tended goal for the M’s, and Bowe was selected player of the game. In their second game of the tournament, the Mariners faced off against a fast-paced Colony team in a puck-flying fray that ultimately saw the M’s fall 3-4 in overtime. Junior Markian Polushkin was in the net for Homer, and turned away 40 Colony shots on goal.
A scoreless first period turned into a five-goal frenzy in the second. Colony scored first, but Homer quickly answered with a Garrett Butcher goal off a feed from Bowe.
“I got the breakout pass and tried to make a move on the defense,” Bowe explained. “I took the defense with me as I spun and fed the puck to Garrett — who scored.”
Colony re-took the lead, but not for long, as Bowe quickly scored off assists from Delehanty and Tillion.
“Owen passed it out in front of me,” Bowe said. “I just reached out for it and put it in.” The Knights took a 3-2 lead late in the second period, but the M’s stepped up their intensity in the third, tying the game 3-3 on an unassisted goal by Kiril Sanarov.
“I blocked a shot and went down the ice one-on-one with a Colony player,” Sanarov said of his game-tying goal. “I shot it in the top right corner.” The game went to sudden-death overtime, where Homer picked up an early penalty, and Colony was able to score on the powerplay. Sanarov was named player of the game for the Mariners.
“It was good to get some wins and it feels good to win the tournament,” Delehanty said of the weekend. “All of our lines are playing well together, and both of our goalies were solid.” The Mariners hit the road, err — runway this weekend as they head to Juneau for a pair of games against the Crimson Bears on Friday and Saturday.
“I can’t wait to play Juneau” said Sanarov of the trip. “It’s fun to play their team.” Wendy Wayne contributed to this story.
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