High School Sports

Chugiak hockey completes undefeated regular season with their eye on the top prize

The last Division I boys hockey team to finish the regular season with an unblemished record was the 2012-13 South Wolverines.

It’s a feat that was matched by the 2022-23 Chugiak Mustangs, who completed an unbeaten regular season Saturday night with an 11-0 shutout win over the rival Eagle River Wolves.

The 2013 South squad would come up just short of a perfect season by falling to Dimond in the state title game. That’s a circumstance the Mustangs, now with an 18-0-1 record, are trying to avoid.

“We want to win that (state) championship at the end of the year,” senior forward Shayden Davis said. “That’s one thing that’s been our goal for all four years and we just really want it bad.”

Chugiak starts its journey through the postseason Thursday in the opening round of the CIC regional tournament.

Davis is one of several players on the Mustangs’ incredibly deep and talented roster to have scored multiple goals in multiple games. He scored a pair of goals in the team’s 5-2 win over South last Tuesday and had a hat trick against Service earlier in the month.

“We’re like family,” Davis said. “We’ve known each other since we were 6 years old, all playing together on the same teams in the same community. We all fight for each other.”


In his 24 years at the helm of the program, Chugiak head coach Rodney Wild can’t recall ever having a season where his team never lost a game. And while the Mustangs have been impressive so far, Wild said there’s only one win the team is focused on.

“At the end of the road, we care less about your record,” Wild said. “Did you win the last game of the year in the state tournament? That’s the one that counts.”

He led the program to a state championship in his first year at the helm in 2000, ending a five-year title drought. It would be another 16 years until he’d win his second and neither time were his teams even close to undefeated.

“We came out as the fourth seed from the CIC in my first year, we were probably 12-8, barely .500 but you don’t remember that,” Wild said. “You remember the last game of the tournament so if we were to go undefeated and not win the state tournament, that’s what would be remembered.”

The team will enter as the favorite and will take on the winner of the first-round game between Dimond and Service.

“We expect to play well and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t expect to win,” Wild said.

Davis said that the team’s mindset heading into the playoffs is to “win and keep on winning.”

“Our confidence is through the roof right now,” he said. “We all feel pretty good and we’re not going to stop.”

He views the Mustangs’ competition at regions will be West, South and reigning Division I champion Dimond, which was the only team they tied with in the regular season.

Wild is happy with the way his team has played in its own conference but doesn’t know how well the Mustangs stack up compared to some of the other top programs around the state — like Wasilla and Colony — that they have yet to play.

“We played West Valley a few weeks ago and they brought a great game,” he said.

Even though Chugiak secured the conference regular season title with a whole week’s slate of games left to play, it didn’t change the level of intensity that they played with heading into the postseason as they still went on to outscore their final five opponents by a combined score of 38-2 with four victories coming via shutout.

“I think there is a sense of accomplishment if they were able to come out the season without having lost a game,” Wild said.

While most teams would be lucky to have one high-caliber line that they can rotate throughout the course of a given game, the Mustangs are fortunate to be deeper than most teams, which has been an integral part to their dominance this year.

“Our second line contributes big-time for us,” Wild said. “Our third line does a fantastic job and plays with plenty of energy, very rarely gives up a goal, and they pop in some of their own.”

Chugiak uses its tremendous wealth of quality talent to wear out opponents over the course of the game.

“We have depth that other teams don’t have,” Wild said. “It’s a matter of being able to play (lines) 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 and other teams are forced to shorten their bench,” Wild said. “That depth is so key for us and sometimes I think it gets overlooked.”

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.