Girls hockey team finishes season strong

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 16:20

By Matt Tunseth

Chugiak-Eagle River Star

The Chugiak-Eagle River girls hockey team didn’t win any games this season — but they didn’t lose them all, either.

The squad of mostly first-year players salvaged a hard-earned tie in their final game of the season, a 2-2 draw with Service-East.

“I’ve never seen a group of girls work that hard,” said head coach Sara Buda, who took over the team of 11 Chugiak High students and five from Eagle River midway through the season.

With so many players new to the game, Buda said she focused on fundamentals — a strategy she said paid huge dividends in this year’s season-ending tournament.

“They did a complete 180,” she said.

The team lost its first two games of the tourney to South-Bartlett and undefeated powerhouse Dimond-West, which features a roster replete with comp hockey players. Despite losing 6-1, Buda said her team went skate-to-skate against the more talented side.

“I don’t think another team has made that team work so hard to get a win than my scrappy little team,” Buda said.

In the season finale against Service-East, Jade Pandres and Victoria Rahm each scored goals and McKinley Gray backstopped the draw.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout in the last game,” she said.

Buda said she’d like to return to coach the team next season, and expects the group to continue making fast strides toward competing in the four-team girls’ hockey league.

“Next season I think it’s going to be very different,” she said.

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