Zoie Campbell

This time last year, the Cook Inlet Conference championships signified the conclusion of the high school girls hockey season, doubling as the unofficial state championships.

A year later, the Dimond/West team topped the conference again after defeating South/Bartlett 7-0 Wednesday at the Dempsey-Anderson Ice Arena, extending its win streak to 10 games. The team will look to continue its undefeated season at the state invitational next week.

Zoie Campbell, the Dimond/West goalie, played a significant role in continuing her team’s undefeated season.

The Dimond/West squad is fortunate to have two goalies, as Campbell splits time on the Dimond boys team. And while the girls team has seldom allowed goals, none have occurred on Campbell’s watch. The Dimond junior guards fiercely, blocking shots before they have a chance to reach the net.

An experienced goalie can be hard to come by, but with strong defense, the goal is reinforced with multiple levels of security.

Photo by Arielle Himelbloom/Alaska Sports Report

“I can thank my players in front of me for helping me with that,” said Campbell, who also plays on the Team Alaska 16U team. “They did a lot of the work clearing the net and helping support.”

Even more impressive, Campbell played with a minor wrist injury. Nothing could stop her from performing with her team.

“It means a lot,” said Campbell, about playing on the Dimond/West team. “I love playing with my friends and against them.”

With the goal heavily protected, players like Alexis Kindred could make moves up front.

The Dimond senior, who also plays on the Alaska All-Stars 19U team, capped the game with two unassisted goals in the third period, solidifying the win.

Alexis Kindred

While the game picked up in the later stages, South/Bartlett kept the team on their toes in the beginning, putting up a good fight against their closest rivals.

Amelia Nascimento and Renee Doyle scored late in the first, while Khenzie Connick, Tana Carlson and Aurora Morton chipped in goals throughout the second period.

“We were a little bit slow in the beginning and after a couple of shifts we picked up, so that was good,” said Kindred, who committed to play NCAA Division III hockey at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York.

According to assistant coach Xavier Schlee, the team strategy has been consistent throughout the season, creating a strong crew in the process.

“We’ve been playing these same teams all season long so we have a good idea of what they’re going to play us with,” said Schlee. “We just went out with the same game plan we had all season and executed it against them.”

Coach Schlee emphasized his objective of ‘building’ which includes a strategic start, navigating the puck around opponents as it makes its way towards the net.

“It’s important to get a couple of goals early in the first and then just build on that as the game goes forward,” said Schlee.

Photo by Arielle Himelbloom/Alaska Sports Report

The strategy might be revised as Dimond/West prepares to face competition beyond the Anchorage league, setting up for a well-anticipated showdown at next week’s state invitational. A team from Fairbanks, Kenai, and two from the Mat-Su Valley are likely to complete the field, in addition to the four merged Anchorage squads.

“State’s a whole ‘nother animal because we’re playing teams we’ve never seen before,” said Schlee. “There’s some big teams coming here, so state will be really exciting.”

For a team with an assortment of talent and an unparalleled goalie, Dimond/West will surely be ready for battle.

The Anchorage Hockey Association will host the state invitational, held February 9-11 at the Ben Boeke Arenas.

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