Plenty of positives after loss

1-0 defeat doesn’t dampen CER’s hopes for the future


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Chugiak-Eagle River’s Autumn Sperry trips up Dimond-West’s Annie Rush during Dimond-West’s 1-0 win in the opening round of the Cook Inlet Conference hockey tournament at Ben Boeke Arena in Anchorage on Feb. 1. Following the tournament, Chugiak-Eagle River’s Rachel Russell and Morgan Elledge were named to the all-conference team.

STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH

After watching his team fall 1-0 to Dimond-West (DW) in the opening round of the Cook Inlet Conference girls hockey tournament on Feb. 1 at ben Boeke Arena, Chugiak-Eagle River (CER) co-head coach Randall Sperry was far from disappointed in his squad.

“I think our goal was just to be competitive, and we were definitely competitive,” Sperry said.

Dimond-West’s Marianne Kristiansen scored with 8:28 left in the third period to break a scoreless tie and advance her team into the conference title game. CER held a 17-12 advantage in shots taken, but Sperry said his squad needed to do more to distract Dimond-West goalie Taylor Sebring.

“We just couldn’t get enough traffic in front of the goalie on our shots,” Sperry said.

Still, Sperry said the season was an unqualified success for a squad that won just four games all of last season.

“It’s a good foundation we have here,” he said.

Senior goalie Nicole Mrugala made 11 saves for CER.

CER finished 9-10-1 overall and had two players — senior forward Rachel Russell and junior defenseman Morgan Elledge — named first-team all-CIC.

Russell said the Dimond-West loss was a disappointment, especially considering CER had beaten DW twice during the regular season. But Russell, too, had no complaints about how the season turned out.

“I’m really proud of all of them,” she said. “We did really well.”

Russell said she was particularly pleased with how the team forged a bond in the final weeks.

“We got pretty close as a team at the end,” she said.

CER will lose six seniors to graduation following the season, including Russell, Mrugala, Sheridan Beal, Tilly Cantor, Erin Shue and JoEllen Walters.

Despite the losses, Sperry said he’s convinced the program is heading in the right direction.

“We should be very competitive next year again as well,” he said.

 

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or matt.tunseth@alaskastar.com

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