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South clinches an invite to state hockey tournament

Alex Jackstadt of East hits the ice while tangling with Josh Smith of Chugiak during first-period Cook Inlet Conference tournament action at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Eagle River.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Alex Jackstadt of East, left, is defended by Hunter Hanson of Chugiak during Cook Inlet Conference tournament action at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Eagle River.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Kris Tomazevic of Chugiak skates away with the puck during Cook Inlet Conference tournament action against East at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Eagle River.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
East goaltender Owen Carlson catches a break as a Chugiak shot on goal bounces around the pipes before being swept clear during first-period Cook Inlet Conference tournament action at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Eagle River.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Anthony Hudson of East tries to squeeze past Josh Smith and Chad Peterson of Chugiak during Cook Inlet Conference tournament action at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Eagle River.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Ted Walters of Chugiak pushes the puck up ice against East during first-period Cook Inlet Conference tournament action at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Eagle River.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Chugiak goaltender Joe Lindquist keeps an eye on the puck during Cook Inlet Conference tournament action against East at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Eagle River.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
East goaltender Owen Carlson absorbs enough puck momentum to prevent a goal over his shoulder during Cook Inlet Conference tournament action against Chugiak at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Eagle River.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Brian Cresap of East, left, faces off against Kris Tomazevic of Chugiak during Cook Inlet Conference tournament action at the Harry J. McDonald Memorial Center Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Eagle River.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News

Josh Smith became a hometown hockey hero Tuesday night in Eagle River when he scored 39 seconds into double overtime to give Chugiak High a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over East in a Cook Inlet Conference tournament opener that also secured the Mustangs a berth in the boys state tournament.

Chugiak goaltender Joe Lindquist made it possible for Smith to author the clinching goal -- Lindquist stopped 38 shots on a night his team was outshot 40-18 at the McDonald Center.

Defending state champion South also earned a state berth Tuesday night, courtesy of its 5-0 victory over Eagle River at Ben Boeke Arena.

Fifth-seeded Chugiak will face top-seeded Dimond in a CIC semifinal Thursday at Ben Boeke. The Lynx, who went through the CIC regular season 14-0-0, twice beat Chugiak 8-0.

Third-seeded South plays second-seeded Service in Thursday's semifinal at the McDonald Center. The teams split their regular- season meetings, with Service winning 8-2 in November and South winning 5-3 Saturday night.

The semifinalists have all qualified for the state tournament next week in Wasilla. Thursday's CIC semifinals, Friday's consolation match and Saturday's championship game determine the conference's seedings in the state tournament.

Chugiak's Chad Peterson scored 1:56 into the third period to tie East 2-2, and that score held through the remaining 13 minutes of the period and the eight minutes of the first overtime period before Smith ended things.

East's Alex Jackstadt opened the scoring with a first-period, power-play goal and the Thunderbirds raised their lead to 2-0 on Steven Butts' strike midway through the second period.

But the Mustangs countered on Kris Tomazevic's goal with five minutes left in the second period to trim the deficit to 2-1, and Peterson's goal forced extra time.

Chugiak lost its first meeting of the season with East 7-0 and rebounded for a 3-2 win in the regular-season rematch.

South, which outshot Eagle River 33-9, received two goals from Jared Cruz, and goals from Conor Nicoll, Patrick Taylor and Gavin Lubin. Tanner Congdon added two assists and Nathan Wright bagged the shutout.

In three games against Eagle River this season, the Wolverines outscored the Wolves by a combined 14-0.



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