Feb. 4—There were likely plenty of tales of hockey heroics told at the Schmidt family breakfast table on Sunday morning.
Buoyed by brothers Cole and Vance Schmidt, the South Anchorage boys hockey team defeated Chugiak 2-0 in the Cook Inlet Conference tournament championship game on Saturday at Ben Boeke Arena.
Cole, a senior goalie, earned a shutout between the pipes while Vance, a freshman, notched the go-ahead goal for the Wolverines late in the second period.
"Our team really turned it on when we got to playoff time," Vance Schmidt said. "Regular season we had some rough patches, but when it comes down to big games, we were able to put it away. (The win) will put us in a good spot (at state). We'll have a lot of confidence."
The victory was the second straight upset of the tournament for No. 4 seed South, which topped No. 1 seed West 2-1 on Thursday.
"We are all working together and getting everything done we need to," Cole Schmidt said. "We knew this would be a hard battle."
Cole Schmidt stopped all eight shots he faced in the first period. He finished with 17 saves and faced only three shots in the third as South won the battle of puck possession for much of the final period.
The game was scoreless until late in the second period when South broke the tie following a turnover at mid-ice that gave South an odd-man rush. It looked like the game would stay scoreless as South skaters couldn't convert on a pass on a 2-on-1. But the Wolverines kept at it and eventually Vance Schmidt hammered one home in front of the net with just 1:34 remaining. Senior Austin Wiita earned an assist on the goal.
"I just miscommunicated with my teammate," Vance Schmidt said. "Good thing we capitalized on that rebound or it could've been really bad."
The goal put South in the driver's seat as the seconds ticked down in the second period.
"I was pretty hyped," Cole Schmidt said. "To go up in a championship game when it's 0-0 late in the game, it means the world. You're immediately attacking and you know if you get one more, it's the nail in the coffin."
That nail came in the third period as sophomore JC Greenwood scored a nifty goal on a breakout with an assist from John Lamantia.
Despite the age difference, the Schmidt brothers have been practice partners with Cole Schmidt attempting to stop the attempts of his younger brother.
"I've taken a lot of shots on him through the years," Vance Schmidt joked. "Cole is great. He's one of those guys you can trust (in net) no matter what."
Although South (11-5-1) finished the regular season in fourth, the CIC Tournament is a good indication of how wide open the state tournament will be. It starts Thursday at the Menard Sports Center in Wasilla.
"We know we can beat every single team there," Cole Schmidt said.
Despite winning the regional tournament, South will enter as the No. 4 seed and will face defending state champion Chugiak in the opening round at 1:30 p.m.
Alaska State Division I Hockey Tournament
at Menard Sports Center
No. 1 West Anchorage vs. No. 8 West Valley, 11 a.m.
No. 4 South Anchorage vs. No. 5 Chugiak, 1:30 p.m.
No. 3 Colony vs. No. 6 Dimond, 4 p.m.
No. 2 Wasilla vs. No. 7 Service, 6:30 p.m.
Loser West Anchorage/West Valley vs. Loser South Anchorage/Chugiak, 11 a.m.
Loser Colony/Dimond vs. Loser Wasilla/Service, 1:30 p.m.
Winner West Anchorage/West Valley vs. Winner South Anchorage/Chugiak, 4 p.m.
Winner Colony/Dimond vs. Winner Wasilla/Service, 6:30 p.m.
4th/6th place, noon
3rd/5th place, 2:30 p.m.
Championship, 5 p.m.