When the puck dropped, the Dimond/West girls hockey team sprang into action, weaving around opponents and looking to extend its undefeated streak.
Dimond senior Khenzie Connick led her team in more ways than one, recording both an assist and a goal in the first period to help Dimond/West skate to a 5-1 victory over Bartlett/South at UAA’s Seawolf Sports Complex.
Connick, who began playing because of her older brother, has stuck with the sport for more than half her life.
“He played before me and I was kind of brought into it,” said Connick, who has aspirations to continue playing at the collegiate level at Alvernia University, a NCAA Division III hockey program in Pennsylvania.
Seniors on both teams owned the night as West’s Kim Damrill and Dimond’s Alexis Kindred recorded goals in the first, while South goalkeeper Brielle Akagi accumulated 30 saves.
“I’m glad that all the families were here and we had a big crowd,” said Connick. “Probably the biggest crowd I’ve seen in girls hockey.”
For Connick, hockey is more than just winning. She also enjoys moments with her teammates, embodying her motto of ‘work hard, play later.’
“This is the most fun hockey that there is,” said Connick. “And it was short bench, but I think everyone worked really hard and had fun, which is all that really matters.”
Freshman Hailey Murray of Dimond added a goal in the second period, followed by a goal from South High sophomore, Sophia Bullock.
Moving to the final period, the score was 4-1, but it was evident both teams were playing their hearts out.
The two teams last faced off in late October, with Dimond/West taking a clean sweep with a 3-0 win. Since then, their margin of victory has only increased, but the South/Bartlett team kept the visitors at bay with the smallest margin for Dimond/West since their last meeting.
Connick, who also plays on the Alaska All Stars 19U team, treasures the time spent with her high school team.
“It means a lot to me,” said Connick. “I love representing this school, playing fun hockey, and working hard.”
Dimond’s Alexis Kindred added her second goal in the third period, with an assist from fellow senior, Riley Hill. Hill finished the game with three assists.
With the final buzzer sounding, Dimond/West players cordially high-fived their opponents as they extended their undefeated season to 7-0.
The Dimond/West team will have one more game in the regular season against Chugiak/Eagle River before heading into the post-season games.
When asked about her goals for the team, Connick did not have to think twice.
“I want to win state (again) this year.”