Hammer’s hat trick leads Chugiak over Service in CIC playoffs

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 09:31
  • Surrounded by Cougars, Mustang captain John Hammer puts the puck past Service goalie Kevin Taunton for one of his three goals in Chugiak’s 5-2 win. PHOTO FOR THE STAR BY MICHAEL DINNEEN

The Chugiak Mustangs rode the four-point performances of captain John Hammer and forward Zachary Krajnik to a convincing 5-2 playoff win over the Service Cougars Monday night at the McDonald Center.

Hammer had three goals and an assist, while Krajnik had two goals and two assists as the Mustangs assured themselves of a continuing presence in the CIC playoff picture and a state playoff berth.

Mustangs coach Rodney Wild was pleased, both with the performance of his team, who he felt had been improving of late and especially Krajnik, who he felt had just been “tearing it up” on the ice.

After a scoreless first period, the Cougars opened the scoring in the second period at 9:42 with a goal by Chris Burnett. The Mustangs responded less than two minutes later when Krajnik scored his first on a backhand shot, assisted by Hammer and Sean Crumley. The duo connected again at 5:22 of the second with help from Andrew Beckett.

Krajnik scored unassisted to open third-period scoring with a short-handed goal at 12:31, and Hammer closed out the Mustangs’ evening with a strike at 6:53.

The Mustangs benefitted from a 27-17 advantage in shots on goal, with 25 saves from goalie Jack Walters, and dominated play for stretches of time in both the second and third periods.

Play continues Thursday 6:30 pm at Ben Boeke for the Mustangs, who will face last year’s state champions West High, 15-2 winners over Bartlett Monday night.

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