Late comeback propels Wolves to CIC hockey win over Chugiak
Tucker Lien’s shot from just inside the blue line with 3:09 left in the game completed a wild Eagle River 4-3 Cook Inlet Conference comeback victory over rival Chugiak Saturday night in Eagle River.
Lien’s shot snuck between the legs of Chugiak starter Olin Keliher and sent the Wolves’ half of a jam-packed McDonald Center into a frenzy as Lien was dog-piled by his teammates. Gavin McDonald and Logan Dudinsky assisted on the game-winner, one of three helpers for Dudinsky on the night.
The win lifted the Wolves to 9-4 in the CIC and into a tie with Chugiak for third place in the CIC. Both teams have clinched a first-round bye in the CIC playoffs and each is still in the hunt for one of the top two spots in the conference — which means a guaranteed state tourney berth and a bye into the CIC semifinals.
Chugiak took a 2-0 lead after the first period on power play goals by Grant Epple, who found the net twice in a 49-second span after penalties to Dudinsky and Brooks Christian.
The Mustangs appeared to be in firm control after Luke Momblow scored with with 5:36 left in the second period to make it 3-0. But not so fast.
The Wolves broke into the scoring column on a Christian goal with 2:33 left in the second, then added a tally by Talyn Meyer less than a minute later and another by Tay Kurpius with 27 seconds left in the period to make it 3-3 heading into the third. Making the run of goals more remarkable is it came after CIC leading scorer Ty McEnaney left the game with an injury with 4:31 left in the second period.
Ryan Gray made 27 saves for Eagle River, which was outshot 30-19. Olin Keliher made 14 saves for the Mustangs and Alayna Breivogel stopped the only shot she faced after Keliher was lifted after the Lien goal.
The win gave the Wolves a split in their CIC games this season against Chugiak, which won 2-0 in December.
Both teams have one CIC game remaining, with Chugiak taking on Dimond (9-3) Wednesday and the Wolves facing West (3-8) Thursday. Chugiak and Eagle River will play a friendly on Saturday night at the Mac in the final regular season game for both teams.
Wednesday, Jan. 23
Chugiak vs. Dimond, Ben Boeke, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 24
West at Eagle River, McDonald Center, 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 26
Chugiak vs. Eagle River (nonconference), McDonald Center, 7:15 p.m.
End Regular Season