M's open season with 1-2 mark in Anchorage
Homer High School head coach Chance Rockett wasn't overly disappointed with his team's 1-2 record during their season-opening road trip to the Ben Boeke Arena in Anchorage. The team did face three Class 4A programs, and did have their chances at winning all three games.
All in all, it was a start.
The Mariners skated into the 2017 season with a three-game road trip that began on Thursday with a showdown against West Anchorage. West managed to draw first blood in the contest, taking advantage of a power play situation in the final minutes to slip a puck into the net. West's goal came with just 55 seconds left in the opening period.
Homer threatened to pull even in the third. The team had two opportunities to score in the final frame. In the end, West managed to claim a 1-0 decision.
Rockett said the Mariners played well in the loss, especially considering they were competing without one of their top athletes, Dimitry Kuzmin. Starting goalie, Hunter Warren, also was battling a cold.
"We stuck right with West the entire game and even had multiple chances to pull even or ahead in the third. (We) just couldn't convert," he said.
West outshot Homer by a 22-16 margin.
Homer broke out the offense in full force on Friday against Bartlett. The Mariners scored six goals in the third period and raced to a commanding 11-2 victory.
Homer put the Bears on their heels quickly. Backed by the play of Timmy Blakley and Phin Weston, the Mariners pushed in a pair of shots in the first, and then tacked on three more en route to building a 5-0 cushion heading into the final frame.
"We dominated Bartlett from start to finish," said Rockett, noting the Mariners outshot Bartlett by a 42-26 clip.
"We were able to do this rolling four lines of offense and three lines of defense and starting our backup goalie Connor Rodrieck, who has only been playing the position for a few weeks," said Rockett.
Rodrieck stopped 24 of Bartlett's 26 shots on goal.
Tyler Gilliland and Isaiah Nevak both registered four points in the win, collecting a pair of goals and assists apiece. Blakley and Weston also tallied two goals.
The weekend didn't end on a happy note for the Mariners. East pushed in three goals in the third period and rallied to claim a 4-3 decision.
"It was a devastating loss, but a loss we learned so much from," he said. "At the end of the season, I'd like to think we will look back and say that was a turning point for us."
Homer, which benefitted from solid play from Ethan Pitzman, outscored East by a 2-1 margin in the first two periods.
East stormed back in the final frame, scoring on three of their six shots on goal in the final nine minutes of play. Pitzman led Homer with three points in their loss to East.
The Mariners, who are scheduled to host the End of the Road Shootout next weekend, will return to play on Thursday for the first of three games at the Palmer Showdown.