More Déjà vu as Chugiak Plays for First; Eagle River Skates for Third
Today’s final games in the ASAA/First National Cup Alaska Class 4A state hockey tournament feature both local high schools.
February is the month for repeated scenarios in local high school hockey as the Chugiak High School Mustangs are headed for the state championship for the second year in a row and the Eagle River Wolves are headed for the third place game this afternoon – also for the second year in a row.
Both teams were defeated in 2016. Both teams clearly are hoping for a different result this year.
After 2016’s defeat by the West Eagles – a team that did not even make this year’s state tournament – the Mustangs are stomping for the first place trophy that has eluded them since 2000, the first year head coach Rodney Wild took the reins at Chugiak.
The Mustangs Varsity Boys’ Ice Hockey team makes it bid for the state championship at 5 p.m. today, Sat., Feb. 11, at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center in Wasilla. The Mustangs earned entrance into the final hockey rodeo after a romp on the ice over the Colony Knights defeating one of the Mat-Su Valley’s top teams by a score of 5-1 last night.
The Eagle River Wolves Varsity Boys’ Ice Hockey couldn’t pull off a hockey version of the movie Groundhog Day on Fri., Feb. 10 against South Anchorage – a team the Wolves beat just ten days ago earning the right to play CHS in the Cook Inlet Conference championship game. ERHS lost to South by a score of 3-1 last night. The “Cinderalla” like story of the Wolves who finished in fifth place in the CIC but beat No. 1 seed South in CIC playoffs ends up with ERHS basically wearing the same ball gown for a second year – an attempt at third place when they were seeking the school’s first championship since its opening in 2005.
The Wolves only score of the Friday match against South came from Ben Rinkcey, a junior, with less than two minutes of play complete in the first period. Rinckey put the puck in the net against South’s Hannah Hogenson, a freshman goalie, with a wrist shot – a quick, accurate shot made by snapping the wrists as the puck hits the blade of the stick – to finish off his fast breakaway – a move by a player clear of the defense heading toward the opposing team goal unimpeded.
Unfortunately for the Wolves, the rest of the scoring was done by South.
South’s Ben Trujllo scored in the second period with 5:16 minutes left on the clock. South’s Patrick Rush scored with just 1:19 left in the third period.
South’s victory over Eagle River was also secured by Hogenson who made 22 stops – including 12 during a fast-paced third period in which the Wolves howled against her with no success.
Ryan Gray, the ERHS freshman goalie, had 21 saves on 24 game total shots.
Mustangs 5; Knights 1
The Mustangs scored four goals in the first period Friday night with the team’s first two goals coming within 52 seconds of play.
Andrew Beckett scored his first of three goals in the game – a feat called a “hat trick” in hockey – with only 14 seconds having ticked off the first period timer. Zach Krajnik scored with 14:08 left in the first. Both goals were the result of the Mustangs first two shots in the game.
Beckett claimed his second goal at less than ten minutes in to the first period with Zach Plucinksi, a defenseman, adding the fourth CHS goal of the period at 7:07 on the clock.
Beckett’s third goal – the complete hat trick – came at 5:35 left to play in the second period with a feed from John Hammer making the score 5-0 headed to the third period of play. Hammer had three assists for CHS, while Krajnik contributed two and one assist each came from Beckett, Daniel Casey and Grant Epple.
Colony scored its first and only goal with 1:19 left in the second period with a strike from Jake Hessinger.
Jack Walters, a CHS goalie named to the CIC All Conference Team, made 14 stops Friday night.
Walters performance isn’t a big surprise – he led the CIC in save percentage this season.
Stats for CHS/Colony
First period: Chu- 1. Beckett (Krajnik, Hammer), :14; 2. Chu- Krajnik (Beckett), :52; 3. Chu- Beckett (Krajnik, Hammer), 5:07; 4. Chu- Plucinski (Casey, Epple), 7:53, pp
Second period: 5. Chu- Beckett (Hammer), 9:25; 6. Col- Hessinger (Riekema), 13:41
Penalties: Chugiak 4 for 8 minutes; Colony 7 for 14
Shots: Chugiak 10-12-8—30; Colony 7-4-4—15
Saves: Chugiak- Walters 7-3-4—14; Colony- Gamez 6-11-8—25
Stats for ERHS/South Anchorage
First period: 1. ER- Rinckey (L. Rachow), 1:58
Second period: 2. Sou- Trujillo (un), 9:44; 3. Sou- Gutierrez (Kinnear, Trujillo), 12:48, pp
Third period: 4. Sou- Rush (Sawicki), 13:41
Penalties: South 3 for 6 minutes; Eagle River 2 for 4
Shots: South 3-13-8—24; Eagle River 5-6-12—23
Saves: South- Hogenson 4-6-12—22; Eagle River- Gray 3-11-7—21
Editor’s Note: If you don’t know much about hockey and its terminology, there is a rather helpful guide at this URL: www.momsteam.com/sports/ice-hockey-glossary-of-terms#ixzz4YPMWVuFS.