The Chugiak hockey squad received some good vibes Friday night at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex, shutting out Kenai Central in an 8-0 nonconference win.
The win was a much-needed boost for the Mustangs, a team that was playing without head coach Rodney Wild due to the tragic loss of Wild’s son, Bryan, who died in his sleep during the holiday season.
Chugiak assistant coach Jake Wilkens said many of his players had competed under the guidance of both Wilds, which had become a father-son duo on the coaching staff.
“It’s good for these kids to come out with positive emotions today,” Wilkens said.
Eight different players scored for the Mustangs, who moved to 6-10 overall. Kenai dropped to 2-10.
Wilkens said the balance in scoring was a encouraging sign that the team is able to compete for wins even with the head coaching seat on the bench sitting vacant.
“It’s mostly about what (Wild) was trying to inspire them to do, and I was happy to see them put together a good game,” Wilkens said.
For the Kardinals, the encouraging sign was the two-goal deficit that they maintained up until the closing minutes of the game.
“We always come up with this idea of putting ourselves in a position to win,” said Kenai coach Michael Tilly. “It was only two goals until the third period, and then they started peppering our goalie in the third.”
Chugiak outshot Kenai 31-9 through two periods, and finished the game with a 46-11 advantage. It was enough for coach Tilly to pull starting goalie Nate O’Lena with eight minutes remaining in the game. O’Lena finished with 33 saves on 38 shots. Backup goalie Bradley Kishbaugh finished the game with four saves on eight shots.
Nicholas Perez and Daniel Casey opened the scoring in the first period, starting with Perez’s shot 6 minutes, 8 seconds, in that was knocked in after a stumble over the crease area. Casey added a second score at the 8:34 mark amidst a scrum in front of the Kenai net. Casey also ended the night with two assists.
A scoreless second period kept Kenai within striking distance heading into the third frame of play, but Rhys Cottle dashed the Kardinals’ spirit quickly with a goal just 94 seconds in.
Wilkens said he was much happier with the Mustangs’ shifts in the second and third periods,
“That’s the way it should look,” Wilkens said. “When we’re playing our system, completing our passes, it’s not just one guy doing all the work.”
Sam Hanson, John Hammer, Zach Krajnik, Andrew Beckett and Chase Bear all scored goals in the third period, including three in the final 1:45 of the game. The eighth and final goal came in the final second of play.
Chugiak 4, Soldotna 0
The Mustangs finished a shutout weekend on the Peninsula with a 4-goal performance Saturday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
DJ Paxon recorded the perfect sheet for Chugiak with 25 blocked shots on goal. Billy Yoder took the loss in goal for SoHi with 26 saves on 30 shots.
Chugiak’s Andrew Beckett broke the scoreless tie with 45 seconds left in the first period to put the visitors up 1-0. John Hammer and Rhys Cottle added goals in the second period and Daniel Casey notched a third-period score.
Service 3, Homer 0
Tyler Millar had a pair of goals as the Cougars notched a nonconference victory in Anchorage.
Matt Stone also scored for Service. Markian Polushkin had 41 saves for the Mariners, while Ronan Klancher had 12 saves for Service.
Eagle River 5, Homer 1
The host Wolves got two goals from Ben Rinckey to get the nonconference victory Saturday.
Owen Delehanty had the goal for Homer, while Connor Canterbury, Kyle Johnson and Jesse Johnson also scored for Eagle River.
Riley Swanson had 32 saves for Homer, while Trent Burnham made 24 saves for the Wolves.
Mustangs 8, Kardinals 0
Chugiak 2 0 6 —8
Kenai Central 0 0 0 —0
1st period — 1. Chugiak, Perez (Brazfield), 6:08; 2. Chugiak, Casey (Cottle, Lindberg), 8:34. Penalties — Chugiak 1 for 2:00.
2nd period — no scoring. Penalties — Kenai 1 for 2:00.
3rd period — 3. Chugiak, Cottle (Lindberg, Casey), 1:34; 4. Chugiak, Hanson (Casey), 6:34; 5. Chugiak, Hammer (Hanson), 9:05; 6. Chugiak, Krajnik (Beckett, Hammer), 13:15; 7. Chugiak, Beckett (Hammer, Krajnik), 13:42; 8. Chugiak, Bear (Yockey), 14:59. Penalties — Kenai 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai 4-5-2—11; Chugiak 17-14-15—46.
Goalies — Kenai, O’Lena (38 shots, 33 saves), Kishbaugh (8 shots, 4 saves); Chugiak, Straub (11 shots, 11 saves).
Power plays — Kenai 0 for 1; Chugiak 0 for 2.
Mustangs 4, Stars 0
Chugiak 1 2 1 —4
Soldotna 0 0 0 —0
1st period — 1. Chugiak, Beckett (Hanson, Krajnik), 14:15
2nd period — 2. Chugiak, Hammer (unassisted), 6:15; Chugiak, Cottle (Casey, Lindberg) 8:50.
3rd period — 4. Chugiak, Casey (Banovetz), 3:30.
Goalies — Chugiak, Paxon (25 shots, 25 saves); Soldotna, Yoder (30 shots, 26 saves)
Shots — Chugiak 12-6-12—30; Soldotna 8-10-7—25.
Wolves 5, Mariners 1
Homer 0 1 0 —1
Eagle River 2 3 0 —5
First period — 1. Eagle River, Rinckey (Fan), 4:00; 2. Eagle River, Canterbury (un.), 10:23. Penalties — none.
Second period — 3. Eagle River, K. Johnson (un.), sh, 7:11; 4. Homer, Delehanty (un.), 8:30; 5. Eagle River, Rinckey (McDonald), 12:49; 6. Eagle River, J. Johnson (Davis, K. Johnson), 14:23. Penalties — Homer 5 for 21:00; Eagle River 4 for 8:00.
Third period — none. Penalties — Eagle River 3 for 6:00.
Shots on goal — Homer 8-8-9—25; Eagle River 8-17-12—37.