Conference full of parity, hockey coaches say
The first half of Cook Inlet Conference play has shown Bill Comer that his team has a chance to win every time it steps on the ice.
“We feel like we can skate with most anybody,” Comer said of Eagle River High’s hockey team.
But so can the rest of the conference.
“All the teams are extremely equal,” Comer said.
Chugiak head coach Rod Wild agreed.
“There’s nobody that’s not beatable on any given night,” he said.
At 9-0, South currently sits top the standings ahead of Dimond (7-1). Just four points separate Service (5-4), West (5-3), Eagle River (3-5) and Chugiak (3-6), with East (2-6) and Bartlett (0-9) in seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Mustangs are in action today (Thursday, Dec. 20) when they host East at 7:15 p.m. at the McDonald Center before taking a three-week break. Eagle River hosts Bartlett on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7:15 p.m. at the Mac. The season resumes Jan. 8, 2013.
During the second half of the season, Eagle River will focus on playing three full periods, Comer said.
“You can’t take a minute off,” he said. “If you take a couple minutes off against these good teams, you’re behind by two goals in the blink of an eye.”
The Mustangs are still working on defining their team, Wild said.
“Our identity has to be hard work and physical play,” he said. “We’ve still got guys that haven’t figured that out yet.”
But hard work isn’t enough, Wild said. Chugiak also needs to execute.
The Mustangs are on the verge of reaching a higher level of play, Wild said.
“They’re almost there,” he said.
Improving week to week is the ultimate goal, Wild said.
“Regardless of where we place and if we get to state or not, the big thing is are we better or not,” he said.
Both coaches stressed the importance of developing their players off the ice.
That’s one area Chugiak doesn’t need to work on, Wild said.
“Our kids are high character kids,” he said. “I look forward to coming to the rink with these guys every day.”
South 5, Chugiak 1
Kris Tomazevic scored Chugiak’s lone goal in a 5-1 loss to South on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Mac.
South followed Tomazevic’s tally with 17 seconds left in the first with five unanswered goals.
Eagle River 8, Kenai 1
Carter Jesiel scored a hat trick to lead Eagle River past nonconference Kenai Central 8-1 on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Brett Wood scored a pair of goals and Hunter Gally, Jesse Johnson and Addie Platt each had one for the Wolves.
Soldotna 1, Eagle River 0, OT
Nonconference Soldotna edged Eagle River 1-0 in overtime Friday, Dec. 14 at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Chugiak 3, Service 2
Hunter Hanson scored the game-winning goal late in the third period to lift Chugiak to a 3-2 win over Service on Dec. 13 at Ben Boeke. Taylor Garner scored in the first and Tomazevic found the back of the net early in the third period to put the Mustangs up 2-0.
Service scored two goals in six minutes to tie the game.
South-Bartlett 12, CER 2
Amber Lopez and Autumn Sperry scored for Chugiak-Eagle River in a 12-2 loss to South-Bartlett on Friday, Dec. 14 at Ben Boeke.
The girls have two games before the holiday break. CER hosts Service-East today (Dec. 20) at the Mac at 5:45 p.m. then hosts South-Bartlett the same time and place Friday, Dec. 21.