Eagle River beats rival Mustangs 3-2 at a packed Mac Center
The Harry J. McDonald Center was full of fans from both Eagle River and Chugiak on Dec. 5 when over 330 tickets were sold that night before the Wolves were able to scratch and claw out a victory against their rivals 3-2 to have a record of 10-2-1.
The entire night was loud, and full of energy by all the fans. Many of the people who arrived after the puck was dropped were forced to stand and watch.
The Mustangs had 35 shots on goal against Eagle River goalie Trent Bumham but could only get two goals past him. Bumham kept his cool after the Mustangs were able to tie the score at 2-2 in the second period when Chugiak forward Zack Krajnik scored a goal.
Bumham wouldn’t let any goals pass through again that night, until the third period was over, and the Mustangs shot a puck into the net, only one second too late in a game that could have gone to either team
The Wolves have a great offensive line with forwards Joshua Linn, Sutton McDonald and Ben Rinckey, who have been playing together for 5 years. They are leading the Wolves in goals and assists, and were quick to answer the Mustang goal when Rinckey scored what would be the game-winning goal in the second period with 1:27 remaining.
It was a break away that had Linn intercepting a pass from Mustang forward Chase Bear, and getting an assist when Rinckey was able to get a slap shot past Mustang goalie Jack Walters. Walters stopped 24 of the 27 shots on goal by the Wolves.
Chugiak head coach Rodney Wild said, “they won because they scored more goals than we did. Part of the last four or five years every game been a one goal game. Last year we lost by a goal, we won in over-time by a goal later that year, and lost by a goal the year before that last.
“The top six teams in our league are all one-goal games. Every game regardless who we play, we have to scratch and claw and fight for every goal that we get. Frankly they did a better job than we did in terms of capitalizing on the saves. We need to score more goals if we want to improve and win more games.”
Eagle River got a goal in the first period by forward Connor Canterbury to answer the first goal of the game by the Mustangs’ Zachary Plucinski. McDonald gave the Wolves the lead near the end of the first period with 0:31 left in the period.
Wolves head coach Bill Comer said, “I think what they are learning is we’ve tried to take the emotions out things, and learn to take the highs and lows of the game and try to stay steady. To get up a goal and the other teams going to score on you, and to ride the emotional train of the game especially these close games like this. To play a steady game and not worry what the score board says, and play your game. Generally, you will come out on top.
“I can’t say enough about our goalie, because not only did he make a lot of stops, but he makes those key stops. It’s not that you stop every puck, but make those key stops like when the Mustangs had a break away in the third period and Trent was able to make the stop and keep the score 3-2.
“Got to give props to Chugiak, they played a great game and are a hell of an opponent. I know we’re going to see them again and it will be another 1 goal game and they’ll be ready. They have a lot of talent on that team and the Goalie played great. I have a lot of admiration for Chugiak coach Rodney and he’s a good friend of mine. It’s a great community and a great bunch of kids, they all know each other and it was a lot of fun for the fans.
The next game for Chugiak was Wednesday, Dec. 9, against Dimond at 6:30 p.m. at Ben Boeke. Eagle River will be facing Bartlett at 6:30 p.m. at Ben Boeke Thursday, Dec. 11. The next Chugiak and Eagle River meeting this season will be the junior varsity at the MacDonald Center Dec. 17. The Playoffs begin Feb. 1 and the state championships will start Feb. 11 at the Wasilla Sports Center.
ERHS 5, South 2
Eagle River posted a wire-to-wire victory over South High 5-2 on Dec. 3.
The Wolves improved to 9-2-1 and showed South how aggressive they have become skating hard each shift, and fighting the opposing players to the puck every single possession.
Head Coach Bill Comer said, “I’m very happy with my team’s victory, and how they all worked hard each shift to get as many shots on goal as they could. The more shots they take, the more chance we have to get on the scoreboard.”
The Wolves had 16 total shots on goal on South’s goalie Griffin Logan, scoring a total of five goals by the end of the third period.
The game was looking like a possible shutout by Wolves goalie Trent Bumham until South’s Jonah Hayes was able to score two goals in the third period. The third period had the Wolves answer back each of those goals by forward Sutton McDonald, who had 1 goal and 1 assist.
The other goal came from forward Ben Rinckey who had two goals in the third period and one assist. The other player from Eagle River to score in the second period was Anthony Fan, and Schuyler Davis had a goal at the beginning of the game to draw first blood against South.
Bumham had 15 saves in 17 shots on goal.