AHS hockey team uses balance to skate past North Medford

MEDFORD — So much for the notion that the Ashland Grizzlies are a one-person hockey team.

Freshman defenseman Keegan Healy scored four goals, while do-everything center Casey Skolnik added two goals and four assists, as the Grizzlies rolled past North Medford 9-2 on Wednesday night at The RRRink. The victory moves the defending champion Grizzlies (4-0-0) into sole possession of first place in the six-team Southern Oregon League with one game remaining before the holiday break.

"It was a good night," Ashland coach Tom Harrison said.

Healy, just 5-6 and 14 years of age, got Ashland on the board first, scoring on the team's third power play chance of the first period with 1:52 remaining. Ashland broke the game open in the second period, scoring five times to take a 6-0 lead. Skolnik scored twice and assisted on two others, raising his league-leading point total to 24 in four games.

"We came out super slow in the first period and the kids were standing around and not pushing the play," Harrison said. "We came over at the first period break and got it squared away. Everyone started picking their feet up, pushing the play and making the other team make decisions."

Normally, it's Healy who looks to set up teammates and Skolnik who finds the back of the net. The roles were reversed on Wednesday, with Skolnik getting assists on two of Healy's tallies.

"I usually don't do that," Healy said. "I try to get some assists, but things weren't opening up today."

After North Medford (3-1-0) got on the board in the opening minute of the third period to cut the lead to 6-1, Healy responded with a pair of goals.

"He scored two goals on low, hard shots from the point that were barely off the ice," Harrison said.

"That's what I want from my defensemen."

Sam Taylor scored twice for Ashland while defenseman Josh McLaughlin also tallied. Carley Santee, one of four girls on the team, recorded her first varsity assist on Skolnik's first goal.

Ashland faces Klamath Union on Saturday in the Grizzlies' final game prior to the holiday break.

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