The South Wolverines may have clinched the top seed in this week’s Cook Inlet Conference hockey tournament, but they needed to work a little overtime to make it happen.
The Wolverines won three overtime games this season, including two in their last six games, which proved to be the difference this season in a year when the Anchorage league was as evenly matched as ever.
South posted an 11-2-1 record for a league-high 23 points.
Led by goaltender Hannah Hogenson, the Wolverines have allowed the fewest goals . She has earned four shutouts and sports a 1.77 goals against average in a league-best 13 starts.
Offensively, South is paced by the 1-2 combo of Asa Kinnear and Skylar Gutierrez.
Kinnear collected 15-12—27 totals after earning a point in 13 of 14 league games. Four times he scored two goals in a game. He also had five assists in one game.
Gutierrez has posted 14-13—27 totals with four game-winning goals. He is coming off a season-high seven-point game in a 10-3 win over East in which he recorded his second hat trick of the season.
The Chugiak Mustangs are seeded No. 2 with a 9-4-1 record and 19 points.
Chugiak beat South 2-1 in overtime in their last meeting.
The Mustangs feature the league’s top points leader in forward Zachary Krajnik, who delivered 13 goals and a league-high 20 assists for 33 points.
Krajnik opened the season with a remarkable 10-point game in the season opener and never looked back. He also had a six-point and five-point game. He has also scored in each of his last two games.
Teammate John Hammer gives the Mustangs another scoring threat with 15-10—25 totals. He has three hat tricks this year.
Jack Walters and Eric Yancey play between the pipes for Chugiak.
Walters has posted a 4-2-2 record and owns a 1.42 GAA with a .933 save percentage. He has two shutouts.
Yancey has a 4-3-1 record with a 2.26 GAA and one shutout.
Chugiak leads the league with 82 goals and ranks second with 27 allowed.
The third-seeded West Eagles [9-5, 18 points] have won six straight games and enter the playoffs as the league’s hottest team.
West’s winning streak includes a 4-3 win over South and a 2-1 win over Chugiak.
Jacob Cummings leads the offensive assault with 12-14—26 totals. Three times he has piled up as many as five points in a game.
Defensively, the Eagles have three goaltenders in Connor Batman, Will Simpson and Darby Miller.
Batman has a team-best four victories to go along with a 3.07 GAA. Simpson has three wins a team-best 2.22 GAA.
The Service Cougars are the No. 4 seeds with an 8-5-1 record and 17 points.
The Cougars limp into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak.
Service’s Tyler Millar leads the team with24 points on 13 goals and 11 assists. He owns three power-play goals and two game-winning goals.
Millar opened the league season by scoring goals in the first seven games.
Goaltender Kevin Taunton started 12 of 14 league games for the Cougars and posted a 6-4-1 record. He shut out West in the first game of the season and has a 2.80 GAA.
Eagle River finished fifth in the regular season with 16 points and a 7-5-2 record.
The Wolves possess a terrific trio in Sutton McDonald, Josh Linn and Ben Rinckey.
McDonald and Linn tied for third in the league with 31 points apiece on nearly identical goals and assist totals. McDonald had 12-19 totals; Linn 11-20.
Rinckey produced 12-13—25 totals and scored four goals against South.
The Dimond Lynx had a 5-8-1 record and 11 points to secure sixth place in the CIC.
Cody Dearing has put together an all-star season with 16-16—32 totals. His 12-game points streak was broken in the season finale. He has three hat tricks, including a five-goal game.
Ted Stevens is Dimond’s top goalie with a 4-6-1 record and 2.62 GAA with a .903 save percentage. He’s also scored a goal this year.
The East Thunderbirds are seeded No. 7 after earning eight points with a 4-10 mark.
East enters the postseason after netting a season-high 14 goals against Bartlett in which Jake Hayes scored four goals and Laauli Tosi added three more.
Bartlett is the final seed. The Golden Bears are winless in 14 league games, but don’t sleep on them.
Last game they showed tremendous spirit and got hat tricks from Cody Bell and Brad Mackin.
The CIC tournament begins tonight with two games and continues tomorrow with two more games at Ben Boeke and the McDonald Center. Action wraps up at the end of the week.
When the dust settles, the top four teams will advance to the First National Cup.
Van Williams is a freelance writer in Anchorage and a correspondent for the Alaska School Activities Association.
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