After coming close a year ago, the Homer Mariners won their first state hockey championship Saturday in Fairbanks.
Propelled by a 40-save game from goaltender Keegan Strong and a two-goal game from Ethan Pitzman, the Mariners beat Soldotna 4-1 in the title game of the Division II high school championships at the Patty Center.
Pitzman, who also had an assist, broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal with three minutes left in the second period.
Phinny Weston and Karl Wickstrom also scored goals for Homer, which led 1-0 after one period and 2-1 after two periods.
Soldotna was led by goalie Josh Tree, who made 35 saves, and Trent Powell, who scored the Stars’ lone goal.
It was the second straight year Homer made it to the championship game of the tournament. In last year’s title game, Palmer took a 6-5 overtime victory over the Mariners.
In earlier games Saturday at the Patty Center, Palmer claimed third place and Kenai Central took fourth place.
Palmer beat North Pole 4-3 in overtime on Zachary Nelius’ second goal of the game. Bryce Armstrong and Jeremy Horacek also scored for the Moose, and North Pole got goals from Mason Wilbur, Daniel Crutcher and Kody Genz.
In the fourth-place game, Kenai shut out the Alaska Heat behind 30 saves from Jackson Cross. Daniel Shelden and Jordan Knudsen each had a goal and an assist for the Kardinals.