The Alaska Heat, which is comprised of players from Glennallen, Tok and Barrow, face off against the Palmer Moose at 12 p.m. Thursday, opening the Alaska School Activities Association/First National Cup Division II Hockey State Championships at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Patty Ice Arena.
The Heat, of the Aurora Conference, are seeded sixth and the Moose, of the Northern Lights Conference, are seeded third in the eight-team, three-day tournament.
Other opening-day games are the second-seeded Soldotna Stars taking on seventh-seeded and Northern Lights rival Houston Hawks at 2:30 p.m.; the eight-seeded Tri-Valley Viking Warriors, of Healy and the Aurora Conference, meeting the top-seeded Homer Mariners, of the Northern Lights, at 5 p.m.; and the fourth-seeded North Pole Patriots, the Aurora’s regular-season champions, battling the fifth-seeded Kenai Kardinals, of the Northern Lights, at 7:30 p.m.
The losing teams Thursday play in consolation-round games at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday. The winning teams Thursday advance to semifinals at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The semifinal winners play in the championship game at 5 p.m. Saturday, while the losing teams from the semifinal round meet for third place at 2:30 p.m.
The winning teams from the consolation bracket play for fourth place at noon Saturday.
North Pole ended the regular season this past Saturday with a 5-1 win over the Delta Junction Huskies at the Polar Ice Center in North Pole.
Robert Kittrell and Daniel Crutcher scored two goals each and Kody Genz found the back of the net for the Patriots.
Both of Crutcher’s goals and Genz’s contribution were unassisted, while Kittrell had one assisted tally. His other goal, with 12:17 left in the third period, was assisted by Simon Laszloffy.
Justin Gerhart scored for Delta Junction with Tyler Hudgin’s help with 8:26 left in the third period.
Gennesaret Halbert made 13 saves for the Patriots and Huskies goaltender Greg Hanson registered 39.
The Lathrop Malemutes and West Valley Wolfpack ended the regular season over the weekend against teams they could face in the Railbelt Hockey Conference Tournament.
The Railbelt tournament starts Friday at the Big Dipper Ice Arena with the third-seeded Wolfpack playing the second-seeded Colony Knights, of Palmer, at 5 p.m. The fourth-seeded Malemutes and the top-seeded Wasilla Warriors drop the puck at 7:30 p.m.
The winning teams Friday meet in the championship game at 12 p.m. Saturday. The Railbelt finalists also advance to the ASAA/First National Cup Division I State Championships on Feb. 13-15 at the Curtis Menard Sports Complex in Wasilla.
Lathrop lost 5-0 to Colony this past Saturday at the Menard Complex. Zach Herron recorded 52 saves for the Malemutes.
The loss also ended a three-game road trip for Lathrop. The Malemutes lost 8-1 to Wasilla on Thursday in the Brett Memorial Arena in Wasilla and defeated the East Anchorage Thunderbirds 4-1 in a nonconference game Friday at the Ben Boeke Ice Arena in Anchorage.
West Valley also ended the regular-season with a three-game road trip in Southcentral.
The Wolfpack lost 7-1 to Chugiak Mustangs on Thursday in the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center in Eagle River. West Valley fell 5-2 to Colony on Friday at the Menard Complex in Wasilla and lost 11-1 to Wasilla on Saturday at the Brett Arena.
West Valley was outshot 27-17 against Chugiak, 27-18 against Colony and 45-10 against Wasilla.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.