• Homer’s Coach Carlin named Region III Coach of the year
By Sean Pearson
The Homer Hockey Mariners bid farewell to seniors Tommy Bowe, Hannah Baird and Konstantin Reutov with a 1-4 loss to the Kenai Kardinals in the opening round of Regions last Thursday.
The M’s closed out their 2013-2014 season in the quarterfinal round of the Region III North Star Conference tournament at Kevin Bell Arena. They finish the season with a record 7-12-1.
After falling to Homer more than once in regular season play, Kenai came out strong with possibly a little revenge on their minds. Kiril Sanarov picked up the lone goal for the Mariners. He was assisted by Bowe and Dawson Roberts.
“This weekend of hockey was filled with all sorts of great action, and people got their money’s worth,” said Mariner Head Coach John Carlin. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t mount the comeback in our game.”
Carlin said he thought the seasons’ progression of playing Kenai better and better each time would end with a victory when it counted most.
“We really wanted the chance to play Wasilla for a berth to State,” he explained. “It just wasn’t our night.”
The Regional Tournament featured six North Star Conference teams, with top seeds Wasilla and Colony receiving byes in the quarterfinal round. Soldotna defeated Palmer with a last-second shot in the other quarterfinal game, which set up a semi-final round of Kenai vs Wasilla and Soldotna vs Colony.
Wasilla dominated Kenai 8-1, while the Stars slipped past Colony in a tight overtime game. It wouldn’t be the last overtime period the tournament would see.
Saturday’s championship game between Wasilla and SoHi saw the two teams battle it out for three periods of regulation hockey, and three scoreless overtime periods, before SoHi was able to slip one past the Warrior goalie for the 3-2 win and Region III title. SoHi goalie Cody Harvey made more than 50 saves in the game. Both teams will trail to Anchorage next weekend for the State Championships.
In an exciting conference of balanced hockey play, it became obvious that just about any team was capable of defeating any conference opponent on any given night. The Mariners struggled against both Kenai and Wasilla, yet defeated eventual champion Soldotna twice during the regular season.
“I am proud of the team’s effort throughout the season,” Carlin said. “The community, high school, friends and family all should be very proud of the way this team competed.”
Carlin was named the Region III Coach of the Year, and five Mariners received post-game honors.
Senior Tommy Bowe was named to First Team, All-Conference, while Konstantin Reutov was named to the second team. Kiril Sanarov and Markian Polushkin both received honorable mentions, and Clem Tillion was selected to the “Good Sport Team.”
Homer High Vice Principal Alison Mall, who attended games every day of the tournament, said she found the regional competition quite exciting.
“Five games in three days, with a nail-biting championship game to top it all off,” she said. “I think all the fans were pleased and the players left the rink exhausted at the end of the day.”
With the loss of only three seniors this year, the M’s look forward to next season with a strong group of returning varsity players.
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