Kenai Central hockey drops games to Colony, Palmer
First he supplied the answer. Then he delivered the knockout.
Palmer’s Blake Brazil tied the game at 1 after his team fell behind in the first period, then completed a hat trick with two goals in the final frame as the Moose buried Kenai Central 7-1 in Northstar Conference action Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
A night later, the Kardinals (3-6-2) fell 2-0 to Colony after giving up a pair of first-period goals.
“We can definitely play better,” Kenai Central coach Pete Iverson said. “We’re pretty disappointed with the weekend.”
Palmer, 5-0 losers to Soldotna in an ugly effort Thursday, turned things around against the Kards on Friday.
The win, coupled with a 6-1 thumping of Homer on Saturday, gives the Moose a 9-4-0 record.
“Last night we just didn’t come ready to play and they took advantage of that. We were sitting back on our feet,” Brazil said of the loss to SoHi. “Then we regrouped. We had a good skate this morning and came back at it and played as a team.”
Palmer also received goals from Miles George, Jacob Inuaki and Dalton Buness, who had two.
The Kardinals enjoyed control for all of 60 seconds as they took a 1-0 lead about a minute into the contest when Zack Zulkanycz scored his team-leading 14th goal of the year, finishing an assist from Zack Mese.
But Brazil had a quick answer, and the Kards soon folded.
Brazil evened the score on an unassisted goal less than a minute after Kenai Central scored, swaying the momentum.
Brazil, who also had a hat trick Saturday against Homer and has three this season, said the exchange shifted the complexion of the game.
“It was very important. If we didn’t get that, it could have been a whole different game,” he said. “The momentum changed.”
George netted the go-ahead goal midway through the opening frame on assists from Buness and Thomas Morino.
Brazil then found Inuaki on a crisp right-to-left cross with less than two minutes to play in the period, giving the Moose a 3-1 lead.
That was more than enough for goaltender Ashton Good, who faced just 14 shots.
And a night after playing short-handed much of the way because of 12 infractions, the Moose delivered a clean game Friday, committing four.
Palmer coach Brad Hanson said his side committed fewer turnovers as well.
“I think mentally we were just a little bit more focused,” Hanson said. “I just told them what I thought we needed to work on as far as our mental approach to the game and there was a little motivation there.”
The Moose poured it on in the second as Buness scored twice in the span of one minute.
George earned assists on both goals, while Brennan Harrison and Payton Staskywicz also earned assists.
Then Brazil left his stamp on the contest, completing the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final frame. The first strike came on an assist from Ivan Good with 7:11 to play, while Harrison and Cody Rissew assisted on the other, which made it 7-1 at the 5:11 mark.
It was a tough night for Kenai Central goaltender Keegan Remsen, who had more than 40 saves in a 1-all overtime tie against Wasilla on Thursday.
Friday, Remsen made 28 saves on 35 shots.
Iverson said his unit wasn’t prepared, and when Remsen struggles, so does the rest of the team.
“He’s definitely somebody we depend on. He’s a great goalie, a great athlete, and we ask a lot out of him,” Iverson said. “If his night isn’t good, the whole team’s night isn’t good.”
Saturday, Iverson said the Kards received strong efforts from TJ Wagoner and Russell Dukowitz.
But it wasn’t enough as the team allowed two early goals and failed to convert scoring chances the rest of the way.
“We just couldn’t get anything in the net,” Iverson said.
Moose 7, Kardinals 1
First period — 1. Kenai Central, Zulkanycz (Mese), 1:06; 2. Palmer, Brazil (unassisted), 2:08; 3. Palmer, George (Buness, Morino), 7:05; 4. Palmer, Inuaki (Brazil), 13:06. Penalties — Palmer 1 for 2:00; Kenai Central 2 for 4:00.
Second period — 5. Palmer, Buness (George, Harrison), 0:59; 6. Palmer, Buness (George, Staskywicz), 1:48. Penalties — Palmer 2 for 4:00; Kenai Central 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 6. Palmer, Brazil (Good), 7:49; 8. Palmer, Brazil (Harrison, Rissew), 9:49. Penalties — Palmer 1 for 2:00; Kenai Central 2 for 4:00.
Penalties — Palmer 4 for 8:00; Kenai Central 6 for 12:00.
Shots on goal — Palmer (6-18-11—35); Kenai Central (5-5-4—14).
Goalies — Palmer, Good (14 shots, 13 saves); Kenai Central, Remsen (35 shots, 28 saves).
Knights 2, Kardinals 0
First period — 1. Colony, Kolendo (unassisted), 1:50; 2. Colony, Thygeson (Lund), 6:30.
Second period — No scoring.
Third period — No scoring.
Penalties — Colony 4 for 8:00; Kenai Central 5 for 10:00.
Shots on goal — Colony (6-6-6—18); Kenai Central (10-8-7—25).
Goalies — Colony, Symbol (25 shots, 25 saves); Kenai Central, Remsen (18 shots, 16 saves).