The seniors on the West High hockey team had never beaten Dimond before, so the Eagles' 3-2 upset of the Lynx on Tuesday night was kind of a big deal.
It was Senior Night for West. Plus, Dimond entered undefeated in the Cook Inlet Conference. And there was a full house at Ben Boeke Arena.
West senior center Ilya Turchaninov was one of those guys who had never beaten Dimond. Of course, he basically missed his sophomore and junior seasons after dislocating his right shoulder three times and eventually undergoing surgery.
That Turchaninov is even playing high school hockey again is sweet. His third-period goal, a wicked power-play wrister just under the crossbar, was doubly sweet. That is stood up as the game-winning strike was kind of a big deal.
"It just feels really good,'' Turchaninov said. "There was a lot of hype to this game -- it's kind of a rivalry. Then it was Senior Night too. And a great, loud crowd. So it feels good.''
Turchaninov's decisive goal came nearly five minutes into the third period with the game tied 2-2. He fed a pass from atop the right circle to defenseman Alex Bardsley at the center point and Bardsley immediately relayed it back to Turchaninov. Turchaninov unloaded a rising wrister that just missed the skates of a defenseman near him and squeezed over the left shoulder of Dimond goaltender Ashton Good (14 saves) and underneath the crossbar to furnish the only lead the Eagles enjoyed, and the only one that mattered.
West sophomore goalie Joe Chekan and company made their 3-2 advantage stand. Chekan in the last five minutes twice rebuffed Dimond sniper Aidan Teilborg and his teammates blocked shots until the buzzer, when the Eagles streamed off their bench to mob their masked man.
"I don't think I could have done it alone,'' Chekan said. "They were blocking shots, chipping pucks out.''
Dimond (12-1-0 CIC) can still win the conference regular-season championship and seize the No. 1 seed for the CIC tournament with a victory Thursday over second-place South (11-1-0 CIC). The Lynx beat the Wolverines, 3-1, in their first meeting. South also has a game remaining Saturday against fifth-place Service to close the regular season ahead of next week's conference tournament.
Dimond beat West, 2-0, in the first meeting between the teams. That game was scoreless for nearly two and a half periods. But it told the Eagles (10-3-0 CIC), who are locked into the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament, they weren't overmatched.
"We understood we could play with them,'' Chekan said. "Last time, we couldn't get shots through, but tonight we did.''
Dimond jumped to a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the game when Teilborg finished a 2-on-1 with Brandon Sakumoto. West's Dmitry Hamm forged a 1-1 tie four minutes later when Dimond could not recover from a turnover deep in its own zone and Codie Cope fed Hamm from behind the net.
Yet Dimond answered four minutes after that on Tyler Briley's goal from the bottom of the left circle, which regained the Lynx lead at 2-1.
But West's Kevin Hodsdon delivered a 2-2 tie when he punched in a power-play rebound 91 seconds into the second period. Chekan made nine saves in the second period and another nine in the third, and finished with 24 saves.
"It's nice to get rewarded,'' said West coach Nathan Shasby. "The kids have been working hard.''
Still, as sweet as Tuesday's victory felt, the Eagles know they have plenty of work ahead.
"It definitely puts wind in our sails and gives us confidence,'' Chekan said. "(But) 30-minute rule: Be happy about it, then let it go.''
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Dimond 2 0 0 -- 2
West 1 1 1 -- 3
First Period -- 1, Dimond, Teilborg (Sakumoto, Conley), 1:41; 2, West, Hamm (Cope, Batman), 5:44; 3, Dimond, Briley (Glover), 9:40. Penalties -- Dimond 2 for 4 minutes, West 2 for 4.
Second Period -- 4, West, Hodsdon (Curran, Fair), 1:31 (pp). Penalties -- Dimond 3 for 6, West 1 for 2.
Third Period -- 5, West, Turchaninov (Bardsley), 4:47 (pp). Penalties -- Dimond 2 for 4, West 0 for 0.
Goalies -- Dimond, Good (17 shots-14 saves); West, Chekan (26-24).
By DOYLE WOODY