CER skates to victory over a powerful foe
Nicole Mrugala started 2012 the way she ended 2011 — perfect.
The senior Chugiak-Eagle River netminder turned aside all 25 shots from Dimond-West to earn her second straight shutout in CER’s 2-0 win Jan. 4 at Ben Boeke Ice Arena. Mrugala recorded a 17-save shutout against Service-East on Dec. 16 in CER’s final game before the holiday break.
Dimond-West threw more shots on net through the first two periods than Service-East did all game — but that didn’t faze Mrugala.
“It’s so much better with a lot of shots because you’re more mentally in it,” she said. “It’s more fun to earn your shutout.”
Mrugala’s play boosted the team’s confidence, forward Hannah Blizzard said.
“It’s just really reassuring having a solid player in the net,” she said. “Nicole had an amazing game. She played awesome.”
Blizzard provided all the scoring with goals in the second and third period. Blizzard’s first tally came when she got her own rebound and lifted it past Dimond-West goalie Taylor Sebring about four minutes into the second.
“She gave up the rebound,” Blizzard said. “I just had to tip it in.”
The Chugiak High sophomore sealed the victory with a power-play goal with 1:03 to play. Rachel Russell fed a pass to Blizzard — positioned just outside of Sebring’s crease — to set up the goal. Autumn Sperry assisted on both goals.
The victory was CER’s first over Dimond-West this season. Dimond-West edged CER 2-0 in the season opener Nov. 1 and 2-1 on Nov. 22.
“We just played harder,” Blizzard said.
Injury and illness left CER with a short bench — and made the victory that much more impressive, coach Katie Hulse said.
Hulse said the three-week break enabled CER to enter the game refreshed.
“They had a nice break, and they were ready to play,” she said.
The team has improved over the past two months, Blizzard said, and the win is proof CER can skate with anyone in the Cook Inlet Conference.
“It makes us feel more confident,” she said.
CER 2, Mat-Su 2, OT
Blizzard factored in on each of CER’s goals for a second straight game when the girls skated to a 2-2 tie with the Mat-Su Ravens on Jan. 6 at the McDonald Center.
Blizzard scored the game’s first goal nearly eight minutes into the first period. Morgan Elledge had the assist.
Russell scored in the second with Blizzard and Holly Linder adding the helpers.
CER netminder Arika Mercer stopped 18 of 20 shots, including six in overtime.
Chugiak 4, Bartlett 1
Chugiak got goals from four different players to earn a 4-1 CIC victory over Bartlett on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at the McDonald Center in Eagle River.
Sam Hanson, Ted Walters, Tyler Painter and Josh Smith each lit the lamp for the Mustangs, who got one goal in each of the first two periods and two in the third.
Matt Bennett earned the win in net by stopping 18 of 19 shots.
Soldotna 2, Chugiak 1
A third-period, power-play goal lifted visiting Soldotna High to a 2-1 nonconference win over Chugiak on Jan. 6 at the Mac.
Kris Tomazevic gave the Mustangs’ a 1-0 lead in the first off a Nick Fussner assist.
Mustangs’ netminder Matt Bennett made 12 saves for Chugiak, which outshot the Stars 24-14.
Eagle River 2, Colony 1
Eagle River got a pair of goals from Brett Wood to pick up a 2-1 non conference win over Colony at the Menard Center in Wasilla.
Wood’s third-period tally with the teams tied 1-1 was the difference.
Justin Lopez had 20 saves for Eagle River.
Dimond 16, Eagle River 1
Daniel Roberts and Dawson Glover each scored hat tricks to lead Dimond to a 16-1 win over Eagle River on Jan. 4 to remain unbeaten in Cook Inlet Conference play.
Carter Jesiel scored the Wolves’ lone goal with Hunter Gally assisting. Eagle River netminder Justin Lopez stopped 32 of 48 shots faced.
East 2, Eagle River 1
East scored a third period game-winner to hand Eagle River a 2-1 loss on Monday, Jan. 9 at Ben Boeke Arena in Anchorage.
Each team scored once in the opening period, with Hunter Gally notching the Wolves’ lone goal off an assist from Addie Platt.
Goalie Brandon King stopped 20 shots for the Wolves.
With the loss, Eagle River fell to 1-5-2 in the CIC.