Mariner hockey team skates past West, East
The Homer Mariners sent a clear message to the rest of the North Star Conference teams this past weekend - the offense is primed and ready.
The Mariners capped a successful weekend on the ice by taking two of their three games at Kevin Bell Arena. During the three-game series with Dimond, East Anchorage and West Anchorage, the Homer offense scored 17 goals.
Dimitry Kuzmin and Tim Blakely helped the Mariners finish off the weekend by turning in a solid offensive outing against the East Thunderbirds. Kuzmin and Blakley both pushed in shots in a five-goal third period and keyed a resounding 10-1 rout.
Homer didn't waste any time in getting its offense in gear against the Thunderbirds. Douglas Dean and Phin Weston both slapped shots into the net in the first 12 minutes of the contest, and helped Homer eke out a 2-1 cushion.
The Mariners took complete control in the second. Backed by goals from Charlie Tappen, Kuzmin and Blakely, Homer reeled off a 3-0 run in the frame, and took a comfortable 5-1 lead into the final frame.
Homer blew the game wide open in the third by torching the East goalie five times in the final 12 minutes - including three times in the final 2:08 of action.
Lee Lowe, Kuzmin and Blakely highlighted the M's third-quarter barrage with clutch shots.
Kuzmin came up huge for the Mariners on Friday. One of the conference's top scorers, he delivered Homer a 4-3 victory over West by driving a shot into the net at the 3:23 mark of the third period.
Homer, now 16-5 for the season, took the early lead in their showdown with West, scoring twice in the first period. Isaiah Nevak and Kuzmin both tallied goals in the opening frame, and helped the Mariners build a 2-0 lead.
West roared back in the second, scoring three times to tie the game at 3-3. Blakely registered the Mariners' only goal of the second quarter.
Homer's weekend didn't get off to a great start for the Mariners. They dropped a tough 4-3 decision to Dimond on Thursday.
Homer, which is scheduled to host Kenai tonight (Jan. 25) in their final regular-season contest, bolted to a quick lead against the Lynx. Spencer Warren turned a short pass from Kuzmin into a goal just 34 seconds into the affair, and staked the M's to a 1-0 lead.
Dimond stormed back in the second. The Lynx pushed three goals past HHS goalie Hunter Warren in the frame and took a 3-2 lead into the final frame.
After Dimond had scored three times to begin the second, Blakely ended the Lynx's run with a goal.
Tucker Gilliland tallied the Mariners' final goal of the contest.
Homer notched a decisive 10-1 victory over the Soldotna Stars earlier in the week at Kevin Bell Arena.
In that contest, Homer broke open a close 1-0 game with an impressive offensive barrage in the final two stanzas. The Mariners reeled off three goals in the second and then finished off the win with a 6-goal effort in the third.
Blakely led all HHS scorers in the game with three goals, while Weston added two.
Homer will tip off play in the North Star Conference Tournament on Feb. 1 in Soldotna. The tournament will continue through Feb. 3.