The last time Chugiak laid claim to the Cook Inlet Conference regular-season championship, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and their neutral-zone trap defensively, er, dazzled the hockey universe.

The Mustangs earned their first title since the 1994-95 season and only the third in the vaunted high school league’s 62-year history. Coach Rod Wild’s team brings an unbeaten 18-0-1 record into this week’s 54th CIC tournament, which begins with a single game Monday and ends with Saturday night’s championship contest.

Chugiak also won the regular-season crown in the 1991-92 season.

The Mustangs tied Dimond 2-2 way back on Nov. 4. It’s been all winning ways, otherwise.

54th Cook Inlet Conference Tournament

7) Bartlett (0-18-0) vs. 6) Eagle River (4-12-0), McDonald Center, 7:15 p.m.
Bartlett-Eagle River winner vs. 3) West (10-6-1), Ben Boeke Arena, 6:30 p.m.
5) Service (4-11-1) vs. 4) Dimond (8-9-3), McDonald, 7:15 p.m.
Bartlett-Eagle River/West game winner vs. 2) South (10-6-2), Boeke, 6:30 p.m.
Service-Dimond winner vs. 1) Chugiak (18-0-1), McDonald, 7:15 p.m.
Third-place game, Boeke, 6:30 p.m.
Fifth-place game, McDonald, 7:15 p.m.
Tournament Championship, Boeke, 6:30 p.m.

South (10-6-2) took the tournament’s second seed by virtue of winning the league’s fourth tiebreaker – goal differential in games played against each other – against West (10-6-1). The Wolverines downed the Eagles 4-1 on Oct. 27. West returned the favor with a 3-1 CIC win Dec. 3.

Photo by Bryan Boyett/Alaska Sports Report

The Wolverines won last season’s CIC tournament 3-2 over West when then-senior Reed Donald memorably scored in quadruple overtime.

The league tournament’s top-four finishers earn automatic berths into the First National Cup Division I state tournament (Feb. 9-11, Wasilla’s Menard Center). Dimond in the defending DI champ and has won a state-best nine total.

The CIC’s fifth- and sixth-place teams will be considered along with the Mid-Alaska Conference’s third-place team and the DII state winner for the pair of DI at-large positions.

Eight teams compete at DI state and will vie for the 40th individual championship since Service won the first in 1983.

Cook Inlet Conference
Regular-Season titles since 1962

19 — Dimond
14 — Service
10 — East
8 — South
7 — West
3 — Chugiak
1 — Bartlett
0 — Eagle River

  • Chugiak senior Shayden Davis led the CIC in league regular-season scoring with 11 goals and a conference-high 18 assists for 29 points in only nine of the 12 games played.
  • Davis’ 11 goals were matched by Dimond junior Tyson Jones, Bartlett sophomore Wyatt Rust and Dimond junior Andrew Sturgeon.
  • Eagle River junior Logan Pierre’s 58 penalty minutes in only seven games played were a league high. He topped sophomore teammate Garrett Bell (40 PIMs in eight games).
  • Goaltending accolades belonged mainly to seniors Michael Rust of West and Daegen Love of Chugiak. Rust played a CIC-high 496 minutes. Love played 438 minutes, posted six shutouts, a 0.51 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. Love and Rust were the lone goalies to play more than 400 minutes. Only juniors River Scott of Bartlett and Zoie Campbell of Dimond eclipsed 366 or more minutes between the pipes. Scott made an astounding 414 saves in 12 games, a 34.5 average.
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