Chugiak hockey goes 0-2 at state
Despite losses, run builds momentum for future
Chugiak’s Tyler Painter pushes the puck forward off a faceoff against Lathrop’s Maxwell Blankenship during the opening round of the Class 4A State Hockey Championships on Feb. 9 at the Menard Center in Wasilla. Lathrop won 4-3.
STAR PHOTO BY MIKE NESPER
Wasilla got two goals from Colton Fletcher and 30 saves from Larry Massie to hand Chugiak a 4-1 defeat Friday, Feb. 10 in the consolation round of the ASAA/Alaska First National Cup State Hockey Tournament at the Menard Center in Wasilla, ending Chugiak’s season.
The Warriors led 2-0 after one period despite an 18-10 advantage for the Mustangs in shots on goal.
“I thought 5-on-5 we were the better team,” said Mustangs coach Rod Wild.
Chugiak cut the lead to 2-1 on a goal by Tyler Painter, who put back a Kris Tomazevic shot that bounced off the post with 10:27 left in the second.
But the Mustangs committed six penalties in the final 7:35 of the period, a momentum-killing lapse that led to a power-play goal by Fletcher that made it 3-1 heading into the third.
“Penalties killed us,” said Chugiak defenseman Chad Peterson, one of four seniors from this year’s squad.
Fletcher’s second goal with 6:16 left in the third iced the win for the Warriors, who advanced to Saturday’s fourth-place game.
Joey Lindquist made 32 saves for Chugiak in net.
Peterson, Lindquist, Zach Johanson and Brady Sizelove are all graduating seniors.
After the game, Peterson said skating with his Chugiak teammates for the final time was an emotional experience.
“I’m going to miss being around them every day,” Peterson said.
Wild said he was thrilled with the progress this season’s team made from the beginning of the season through the Cook Inlet Conference and state tournaments.
“These kids have so much to be proud of,” said Wild, whose team led Lathrop 3-2 after two periods in Thursday’s first-round game before a Malemutes tally with less than 10 seconds left ended Chugiak’s state title hopes.
Despite going 0-2 at state, Peterson said he was proud of this year’s team, which finished the season 8-18-1 and advanced to the state tourney for the first time since 2009.
“We came a lot farther than anybody thought we would,” Peterson said.
Wild said the team made huge strides in their ability level by showing up at the rink each day ready to work.
“They worked their [butts] off for four months,” Wild said.
Malemutes 4, Mustangs 3
Lathrop’s Anders Carlson scored with 8.7 seconds left in regulation to lift the Malemutes past Chugiak 4-3 on Thursday, Feb. 9 in the opening round of the ASAA Alaska Class 4A State Hockey Championships at the Menard Center in Wasilla.
“Anytime a game is settled in the last nine seconds, that’s a good hockey game,” Wild said.
Chugiak’s top line of Kris Tomazevic, Josh Smith and Tyler Painter accounted for all of the Mustangs’ offense. Each scored a goal, and Tomazevic added two assists and Smith had one.
Lathrop’s depth was difficult for Chugiak to contend with, Wild said.
“It’s hard when you get all of your offensive output from one line,” he said.
After falling behind 1-0 less than four minutes into the game, Tomazevic scored the equalizer for Chugiak 33 seconds later.
Painter buried a close-range, power-play goal past Lathrop netminder Ian Morey two and a half minutes into the second period to give Chugiak a 2-1 lead.
Smith found the back of the net three minutes later.
Smith took a feed from Tomazevic, split Lathrop’s defenders and slid the puck past Morey to put the Mustangs up by two.
Morey was pulled after Smith’s tally.
Lathrop’s Jacob Wolter scored his second power-play goal of the game 1:12 after Smith’s tally to cut the lead to 3-2.
Lathrop tied the game midway through the third.
Lathrop threw 39 shots at Lindquist, more than doubling the Mustangs’ total of 18.
The experience of state will be a huge benefit to next year’s team, Wild said. The Mustangs last made the state tournament in 2009.
Though Chugiak will lose Lindquist and three senior defensemen (Zach Johanson, Chad Peterson and Brady Sizelove), the Mustangs’ entire offensive lineup will be returning.
“We don’t lose a single forward,” Wild said.
Wild said the loss of Lindquist, an all-conference goalie who was the backbone of Chugiak’s team, will be a particularly tough blow.
“Matt Bennett has some big shoes to fill,” Wild said of Chugiak’s junior back-up goalie.
In the mean time, Lindquist said he plans to continue playing with his comp team, the Alaska All-Stars, in hopes of hooking on with a junior hockey team in the near future.
“It’s go, go, go right now,” he said.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or email@example.com