FAIRBANKS—Dylan Steele got some encouragement from the Monroe Catholic coaches before Wednesday night’s nonconference high school hockey game against North Pole.
Head coach Kirk Haman and assistant coach Jager Thurmond told Steele he needed to shoot more. The freshman wing heeded their advice and delivered the game-winning goal in the Rams’ 3-2 victory over the Patriots at the Polar Ice Center in North Pole.
“Actually, we were telling the whole team that they needed to shoot more,” Haman said by telephone. “Dylan has a good shot. He had the opportunity to put it away and it was good timing to start the second period.”
Steele scored during a power play at 33 seconds into the second period, aided by Jacob Hebard and Kyle Coiley, who each finished with multiple-point efforts.
Hebard pushed Monroe to a 2-0 lead in the first period, starting at 6:40 into the period with a power-play marker from assists by Coiley and Carson Keys. Hebard scored at 10:28 with Elliot St. Laurent’s help.
Goaltender Nathaniel Brose registered 20 saves for the Rams, 5-2 overall heading into a nonconference series at Juneau-Douglas on Friday and Saturday.
“I thought we controlled the game pretty well,” Haman said. “We spent a lot of time in their end when our forecheck did what they were supposed to do. This was actually a good game for us to get tuned up for before we go to Juneau.”
The Rams also survived a 6-on-3 power play for the last two minutes of Wednesday’s contest.
“I have to give credit to the boys, they did a great job of killing those two penalties,” Haman said.
Haman commended the Patriots, who Monroe defeated 4-0 on Nov. 6 at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
“North Pole has come a long way from the first time we played them,” he said. “They’ve been maturing as a team, and they’ve been getting a lot closer every game.”
North Pole’s Jason Donald made the score 2-1 at 11:44 into the first period, scoring his 11th goal of the season with helpers from Kiefer Raduenz and Carson Linnell.
Donald set up James Laszloffy’s power-play goal at 3:01 into the second period, making the score 3-2.
“The first period we kind of came out flat and Monroe controlled the tempo,” Patriots head coach Stuart Zimmerman said. “I thought we picked it up in the second and third, but we just didn’t come out on top.
“It was a great finish to the game but it’s very frustrating when the bounces aren’t going your way, though you’re getting a lot of shots and opportunities,” Zimmerman said.
Ian Hancock had 12 saves for the Patriots while working the first period and the first minute of the second period, and Alan Heineken stopped all 15 shots he faced.
North Pole, 2-10-1, is off until next week’s trip to Southcentral. The Patriots face the Palmer Moose on Dec. 13; the Bartlett Golden Bears on Dec. 14 at Ben Boeke Arena in Anchorage; and the Wasilla Warriors on Dec. 15.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.