Sperry's goal helps CER girls snap losing streak
The Chugiak-Eagle River girls hockey team snapped a four-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over visiting Service-East on Dec. 16 at the McDonald Center.
Autumn Sperry scored the game’s lone goal when she escaped on a breakaway and buried a shot past Service-East netminder Jenna Gerrety just over four minutes into the third period.
CER had trouble getting past Service-East’s defense for the first two periods, Sperry said, but when the opportunity to go in alone on the goalie presented itself, she went into an all-out sprint.
“I just saw the net and gave it my all,” Sperry said.
Service-East nearly scored in the game’s waning seconds, but defenseman Morgan Elledge came to the aid of CER goalie Nicole Mrugala.
Elledge tied up Service-East’s Bria Lindsoe and prevented her from getting her stick on a loose puck that was sitting to Mrugala’s right just a few feet from the net. The crucial defensive play preserved Mrugala’s 17-save shutout.
CER’s netminder was thankful Elledge was in position.
“It’s good when the defense comes through for you,” Mrugala said.
Mrugala said she breathed a sigh of relief after hearing the buzzer.
“It was pretty close,” she said.
A Kiera Byman tripping penalty with 1:17 to go heightened the drama at the end of the game. Being shorthanded usually elicits excitement from Mrugala because of the increased activity in front of her net. However, in this instance, it was nerve-racking, she said.
Holly Linder and Rachel Russell helped ease the tension. Each provided key blocks during the late-game penalty kill to prevent shots from the point from getting through to Mrugala.
CER coach Katie Hulse was relieved her team ended 2011 with a victory.
“I’m glad we won,” she said.
CER is off until Jan. 4, when it resumes action against Dimond-West at Ben Boeke Ice Arena at 5:45 p.m.
Focus will be key for success in the latter half of the season, Sperry said.
“We have to get our heads in the game,” she said.
The team’s goal is to start 2012 the way it ended 2011, Sperry said.
“We’re just gonna try to rack up the wins,” she said.
The team needs more enthusiasm on the ice, Mrugala said, something that will come if CER can play like it did against Service-East.
“We want more motivation in the second half,” Mrugala said. “If we keep winning like that, they’ll be more motivated.”
South-Bartlett 5, CER 2
South-Bartlett handed CER a 5-2 loss Dec. 15 at the Mac. Five different players scored goals for South-Bartlett.
Russell scored both goals for CER. Elledge had an assist on Russell’s first-period goal. Her third-period tally was unassisted.
Arika Mercer had 32 saves for CER. South-Bartlett built a 3-1 lead after the first 12 minutes, then added a goal each in the second and third periods.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected]