Wolves advance at CIC hockey tournament; Mustangs fall in final seconds
Eagle River soared into the Cook Inlet Conference tournament semifinals and onto the state tournament Tuesday, while Chugiak will have to fight to keep its postseason alive.
The No. 3 seed Wolves advanced to the semis with a 2-0 win over No. 6 seed West at the McDonald Center behind 28 saves from Ryan Gray while No. 4 Chugiak fell into the fifth-place game after falling 4-3 to Service in a heartbreaker at Ben Boeke.
Tucker Lien scored the game-winner off a Logan Dudinsky assist midway through the second period for Eagle River, which will play No. 2 Dimond at at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at the McDonald Center. The lower-seeded Wolves get the “home” ice because No. 1 seed South chose to play its Thursday semifinal against Service at 6:30 p.m. at Ben Boeke.
The Wolves’ second goal came with three seconds left when officials awarded a goal to Tay Kurpius on a thrown stick by Jack Opinsky.
Gray stopped 11 shots in the first period and eight in each of the next two for the Wolves, who were outshot 28-22.
Will Simpson made 21 saves for the Eagles, who will play Chugiak at 7:15 p.m. Friday at the Mac. The winner will earn the CIC’s final state tournament spot; the loser will not.
At Ben Boeke Tuesday, Jake Hayes scored with just 22 seconds left in regulation to give the Cougars the upset and a berth in the CIC semifinals Thursday — as well as an automatic state tournament bid. Sarber’s goal came just 31 seconds after Chugiak tied the score on a Tyler Huffer goal with the Mustangs using an extra attacker and defending an empty net.
No. 5 seed Service led 1-0 after the first period on a power play goal by Brent Edmonson.
The fourth-seeded Mustangs rallied to make it 1-1 after two periods on a score by Riley Lindberg off a Tyler Huffer assist.
The Mustangs took their first lead with 9:44 left in the third on a Christopher Kennedy goal, but the Cougars took the lead back on back-to-back goals by Sam Bourdon in a span of just 1:47.
Alayna Breivogel made 25 saves for Chugiak, which outshot Service 35-29. Kevin Taunton stopped 32 shots for Service.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified the Service player who scored the Cougars’ game-winning goal.