M's running away with North Star title
The Homer Mariners head into every game looking at each of their opponents as the best team they will face all season. Hence, their goal is to play their best game of the season every night.
That approach has worked perfectly for the Mariners this fall, especially as they head into the stretch of the North Star Conference race as the best team — by a huge margin.
Homer holds a commanding lead in the race for the top seed at the upcoming North Star Conference Championship Tournament. The Mariners, who are riding an 11-game win streak, own an eight-game lead over Palmer in the standings, according to the Alaska School Activities Association's website.
Now 12-2 for the season, Homer has dominated opposing teams since opening the season at 1-2. During their recent win streak, the team averaged almost seven goals per game.
Isaiah Nevak and Tyler Gilliland lead the state's most explosive Division I offense. Nevak has scored a state-leading 14 goals in the team's first 14 games. He has also tossed in five assists, giving him 19 points. Gilliland, who is tied with Nevak for the team's lead in points, has scored seven goals and amassed a team-leading 12 assists.
Nevak and Gilliland are far from the only Mariners creating havoc for opposing goalies. Overall, six Homer High School players have scored at least seven goals this season. Spencer Warren and Phin Weston have both scored nine goals.
Warren has added eight assists, while Weston has assisted on 11. Timmy Blakely has added eight goals and six assists, while Dimitri Kuzmin, who missed three games early in the season, has registered seven goals and 10 assists.
Homer will begin its final run toward the top seed at the conference tournament on Jan. 11, when they begin a grueling schedule. On that day, the Mariners will kick off a three-game road trip with a showdown against Wasilla.
The following day, the team will face Colony, before finishing the outing on Jan. 13 with a matchup against Palmer.
The M's won't have long to recover from their road trip. On Jan. 16, they will begin a span of four games in five days when they host Soldotna at Kevin Bell Arena. They will host Dimond, West Anchorage and East Anchorage in three non-conference games on Jan. 18-20.
Homer will make its final outing prior to the North Star Conference Championship Tournament on Jan. 25, when they face Kenai Central.
The North Star Conference tournament will be held on Feb. 1-3 in Soldotna.