FAIRBANKS — Whether your 6 or 66, nothing beats the thrill of skating up and down an open sheet of ice.
That is why players from different walks of life came together to compete in the Alaska International Senior Games coed ice hockey games Saturday evening at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
Some looked more comfortable gliding along than others, though nearly all the athletes ranging from 50 to nearly 80 left the ice with smiles on their faces.
Still, although it was a friendly gathering of familiar faces eager to reconnect, there were winners and losers during the opening night of the round-robin tournament.
Team Black defeated Team Yellow 5-2 before Team Red bested Team Blue 3-2 in the nightcap.
“I don’t think it was so much exciting to win as much as it was just to play and experience the camaraderie,” said Fairbanks resident Jerry Phillips, who tallied a goal and two assists in Yellow’s victory. “We had a good time playing together. It’s pretty low key and it’s a lot of fun.”
In the first game, Yellow struck first 7:22 into the first period when Paul Layer beat Black goaltender Beth Ball, of Anchorage, with a low wrist shot for a power-
Although Keith Pomeroy netted the equalizer to even the score 1-1 before the first intermission, Phillips put Yellow on top when he finished off a pass from Rick Berne 5:01 into the middle frame.
Kevin Berry tied it 2-2 when he beat Yellow goaltender Keith Berrian (16 saves) from the blue line moments later.
From that point, the rest of the offensive fireworks were provided by Yellow.
Jeff Johnson squeezed a wrister past Ball (12 saves) with 1:31 remaining in the second period before Gary Woody and Clarise Grandpre tacked on third-period goals for good measure.
Alongside Phillips, who has competed in the AISG for 10 years, Yellow displayed its…