Dimond forward Ryan Schank, top, keeps a close eye on the puck as he makes a pass over the stick of Kenai's Trevor Baldwin during second period action at the afternoon game of the first day of the 4A State High School Hockey Tournament at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks, Alaska Thursday, February 10, 2005.
AP Photo / Fairbanks Daily News-
The Dimond Lynx showed why they are the No. 1-ranked high school hockey team in Alaska, while the Wasilla Warriors continued to ride the hot goaltending of sophomore Ronald Walker in the morning session of the Frozen Pond Class 4A State Hockey Tournament Thursday at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
Dimond, 25-2-0 on the season, unleashed its powerful offensive attack in the second period, scoring five times en route to a dominating 9-1 win over the Kenai Kardinals.
Wasilla, 12-10-1, withstood an aggressive Chugiak attack for the first two periods and rode the 29-save performance of Walker to claim a 1-0 victory over the Chugiak Mustangs.
Dimond advanced to today's 8 p.m. semifinal contest where the Lynx will meet West, which topped Lathrop 8-0 Thursday. Wasilla will play in the 3 p.m. semifinal against South, which beat West Valley 3-0.
Kenai and Chugiak fall into the consolation bracket where the Kardinals will face Lathrop at 10:30 a.m. and the Mustangs will be pitted against West Valley at 8 a.m.
Leading 1-0 after the first period, Dimond got a goal from William Rapuzzi 40 seconds into the second period and that touched off a five-goal outburst that buried the Kardinals.
"We started a little slow in the first period, but in the second we came out flying and took it from there," said Dimond coach Dennis Sorenson, whose team responded to last Saturday's 3-0 loss to South Anchorage in the Cook Inlet Conference tournament championship game.
"I thought we hung with them pretty well in the first period, but we missed a couple of chances and in the second period they just really took over," said Kenai coach Nate Kiel. "We took a few ill-advised penalties and you just can't do that against a team of their caliber."
All four of Dimond's lines contributed to the win as Jonathan Brister and Jason Stralka chipped in two goals apiece, while Ryan Schank, Nick Davis, Ben Jackson and Keegan Brees all scored once. Stralka, Ben Tikka, Nick Flores and Jake Bishop had two apiece.
"We had four lines all working well today and they just didn't have the numbers to stay with us," Sorenson said. "I think we were able to wear them down."
"We're down to 16 players and we just didn't have the depth to stay with them," Kiel said. "It was a closer game when we played them earlier in the year but we had more players then."
Kenai's John McGlasson broke up Dimond goalie Spencer Alvarez's bid four a shutout when he scored an unassisted goal at 3:40 of the third period. Alvarez made six saves in posting the win, while Kenai's Dan Silver stopped 28 shots.
Although Chugiak outshot Wasilla 24-9 in the first two periods, the game remained scoreless for more than 40 minutes before the Warriors got an unassisted goal from Tanner Dutcher with 2:06 remaining in the game to give a team from the Mat-Su Valley a first-round state tournament win for the first time in 10 years.
"We're on a roll right now," said Wasilla coach Eric Troisi, whose team
upset Kenai in the North Star Conference tournament title contest last week. "The kids believe in themselves and we've been getting great goaltending."
Walker was spectacular in the first two periods as he stopped 24 shots and the Warriors thwarted all six of Chugiak's power plays.
"We haven't won a first-round game in forever so this is pretty huge," Walker said outside a jubilant Wasilla locker room. "We were determined to win today."
Dutcher took advantage of an errant Chugiak clearing pass to score the only goal of the game. He took a ricochet off the boards and went in all alone on Chugiak goalie Robby Warren and put the puck in the top corner of the net.
"We knew if we kept playing as hard as we could something would finally go our way and when I got that puck I just put it in," Dutcher said, who also lauded the performance of Walker.
"He's been playing big the last three or four games," Dutcher said of the Warriors sophomore netminder, who is well over 6-feet tall. "We wouldn't have been here without him."
Two players from Kenai and one each from West Anchorage and Chugiak emerged
as winners from the skills competition that was held Thursday afternoon.
Senior Micah Lillard won the fastest skater competition, while junior teammate Cody Carver captured the accuracy competition.
Sophomore defenseman Jackson Spivey of West Anchorage was the top shooter in the one-on-one shootout with the goaltender, while Chugiak goalie Robby Warren was the top netminder during the event.
LYNX 9, KARDINALS 1
Kenai 0 0 1 1
Dimond 1 5 3 9
First period 1. Dimond, Schank (Stralka, Rapuzzi), 11:09 (pp).
Penalties Kenai 1 for 2 minutes.
Second period 2. Dimond. Rapuzzi (Schank), :40; 3. Dimond, Jackson (Tikka),
5:27; 4. Dimond, Brees (Stralka), 9:15; 5. Dimond, Brister (Bishop,
Johnson), 12:18; 6. Dimond, Davis (Tikka, Jackson), 13:37. Penalties Kenai 1
for 2 minutes; Dimond 1 for 2 minutes.
Third period 7. Dimond, Brister (Bishop); 8. Kenai, McGlasson (Unassisted),
3:40; 9. Dimond, Stralka (Flores, Halverson), 7:14; 10. Dimond, Stralka
(Krogh, Flores), 13:59 (pp). Penalties Kenai 2 for 6 minutes. Dimond 1 for 2
Shots on goal Kenai 2-3-27. Dimond 9-14-1437.
Power-play opportunities Dimond 2 for 4; Kenai 0 for 2.
Goalies Kenai, Silver (27 shots-28 saves). Dimond, Alvarez (7-6).
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