Southern and Service hockey teams prepare for state tournament

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The puck drops at the Alaska School Activities Association Division I Hockey State Championships on Thursday, Feb. 10, and both South Anchorage and Service High School enter the tournament with something to prove.

The South Wolverines are the No. 2 seed in the eight-team state bracket, while the Service Cougars are the No. 5 seed. On Thursday, Service will face fourth seed West Anchorage High School, the Eagles suffering a quadruple overtime loss to South in the Cook Inlet Conference Championship Game.

“When we saw the top seeds come out for the tournament in general, when you see a team like West that just suffered a big loss, you’re like ‘oh shoot’, but…we were pretty excited…we wanted to play a great team. We want to play against a team that loves, we know no one expects us to win,” said Jack Carter, senior captain of the Service’s hockey team.

South, meanwhile, will face No. 7 seed Colony, a team they’ve already beaten this season, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to take it easy with the Knights.

“We certainly cannot take them lightly. It’s going to be at their arena, so we have to be prepared like any other game,” said South senior defenseman Sam Lord.

With Dimond being disqualified from the CIC tournament, this paved the way for Service to enter the state tournament. It also meant people wouldn’t see a South rematch against Dimond from last year’s championship game that went to overtime. Instead, there was a South versus West game that will go down in the history books, going into four overtime periods before South won 3-2. Even with the big win over West, South has their sights set on a big game.

“I can’t wait to beat Dimond hopefully proving we’re the best team in Anchorage,” Lord said.

Last year there was no D1 State Hockey Tournament due to COVID-19 protocols, so for many players this year will be a first experience. On the other side of the coin, for the seniors taking part in the tournament, this will be the last time they dress for their schools.

“Thinking about that was tough because I know that’s probably going to be the last time I play with my dad behind me on the bench,” Carter continued, “So it’s like I’ve been thinking about service hockey … play in this tournament all my life, so I think it will be a good time. Like just thinking about it, it’s sad but at the same time knowing that we can do it… it’s a nice feeling.

The DI State Hockey Tournament begins Thursday and all games will be played at the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center just outside of Wasilla.

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