Mariners skate to 'End of the Road' title
Isaiah Nevak scored three goals in a five-minute span on Saturday and helped spur the Homer Mariners to a commanding 10-3 rout of the Soldotna Stars in their final outing at the 2017 End of the Road Hockey Tournament at Kevin Bell Arena. With the rout of Soldotna, Homer breezed to the tournament championship, finishing with a perfect 3-0 mark in the round-robin event.
Just how good were the Mariners in front of their home crowd? Consider this: in Homer's three games, they outscored their opponents by a staggering 20-7 margin.
The Mariners didn't waste any time in putting the Stars on their heels. Nevak, who finished the game with four goals, took a pass from Tyler Gilliland off the opening face-off and punched it into the Stars' goal. Homer's first goal of the contest game just 11 seconds into the contest.
The M's didn't let up from there. Spencer Warren, Timmy Blakely and Phinneas Weston all pumped in goals over the ensuing 5 minutes of play, and helped Homer build a commanding 4-1 advantage heading into the second period.
Soldotna managed to cut into the Mariner lead in the second. The Stars scored twice in the frame, and pulled to within 3-2 at the start of the final stanza.
Nevak shot down whatever hope Soldotna had harbored over the next five minutes. The HHS star pushed home his second goal just 32 seconds into the third period, and stretched the Mariners' lead to 5-2. He tacked on an additional goal just over a minute later, and then finished off his third-quarter hat trick with a shot into the net at the 9:11 mark.
Gilliland got into the scoring act from there. He pushed in a pair of goals midway through the third, and built the Mariners' lead to 9-3 with more than 5 minutes left in regulation.
J.J. Williamson notched Homer's final goal with 3:53 left on the clock.
Lee Lowe and Dimitri Kuzmin also turned in solid outings for Homer. Both recorded a game-high three assists. Gilliland, Blakely, Tucker West and Phinneas Weston all had two assists apiece.
Hunter Warren starred in goal for HHS. He stopped 19 of the 22 shots against him.
Homer survived a scare from Bartlett on Friday, claiming a 5-2 come-from-behind victory.
After Bartlett scored early to take a 1-0 lead in the first period, Spencer Warren, West and Gilliland all combined to knock down shots in the second.
Homer went into the third period holding a slim 3-2 cushion.
Nevak slated away the victory in the third, pushing in a pair of goals in the frame.
Connor Roderick was dominant in the net for Homer. The HHS standout stopped 23 of the Bears' 25 shots on the goal.
Homer opened the tournament on Thursday with a 5-2 victory over Houston.
Kuzmin led all HHS scorers in the game by scoring two goals — both in a crucial 3-1 run during the second period that all but floored the Hawks.
Gilliland, Williamson and Phinneas Weston also scored for the Mariners.
Charlie Tappen, Charlie Menke and Spencer Warren all contributed two assists.
Hunter Warren blocked 27 of Houston's 29 shots in the game.
The Mariners will return to action on Nov. 30 when they host Wasilla. The contest will begin at 7 p.m.