No pressure, rookie. In his first year as the South/Bartlett head coach, Bryce Akagi was handed the reins to a two-time defending champion.
“There are some expectations,” Akagi acknowledged Monday.
The only catch?
“Last year, we had 13 seniors,” the former assistant said.
So far, so good.
With the temperature in single digits, South/Bartlett blanked Dimond/West 2-0 in the opening game of the girls high school hockey championships Monday under the lights at the Bonnie Cusack Outdoor Ice Rinks.
In a rematch of squads that squared off in the last two title games, sophomore Hannah Strand opened the scoring in the second period with Tatum Lund picking up an assist.
The score remained 1-0 until the final minute of the game, when Lund, a freshman, put the game away with 32 seconds remaining with a goal assisted by Lake Bethard.
Dimond/West unloaded 28 shots on Brielle Akagi, but the sophomore goaltender was perfect between the pipes for South/Bartlett.
Her coach, and dad, says she is interested in playing another position, but that opportunity might not present itself soon after her performance Monday.
“She definitely earned the shutout tonight,” said her coach.
In net for Dimond/West, Zoie Campbell and Jersey Graham combined to make 22 saves.
Chugiak/Eagle River knocked off top-seeded Service/East, the regular-season champion, 3-1 in the late game.
Chugiak/Eagle River got goals from Daphne Gray (unassisted), Kara Rahm ((assisted by Rian Runyan) and Myla Lubken (assisted by Charlotte Kotlarchuk).
Alena Glover tallied the lone goal for Service/East with second left in the game.
Julia Woolsey stopped eight shots in net for Chugiak/Eagle River, and Service/East’s River Scott made 24 saves.
The tournament is being held exclusively on outside ice in accordance with COVID-19 protocol.
Girls High School Hockey Championships
At Bonnie Cusack Outdoor Ice Rinks
South/Bartlett 2, Dimond/West 0
Chugiak/Eagle River 3, Service/East 1
4:15 p.m. — South/Bartlett vs. Service/East
6 p.m. — Chugiak/Eagle River vs. Dimond/West
4:15 p.m. — Chugiak/Eagle River vs. South/Bartlett
6 p.m. — Dimond/West vs. Service/East
12:30 p.m. — Third-place game
2 p.m. — Championship