Crimson Bears hockey to contend with Eagles at state tourney

For the third consecutive year, the Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team is headed to the state tournament.

The Crimson Bears and West Anchorage Eagles drop the puck on Thursday at noon in the first round of the ASAA First National Cup Division I championships at the Curtis D. Menard Sports Center in Wasilla.

Both JDHS and West Anchorage are No. 2 seeds as the runner-ups in their respective conference playoffs. West Valley defeated JDHS 3-2 on Saturday in the Mid-Alaska Conference championship to earn the No. 1 conference seed.

The Eagles are one of the four teams from Anchorage’s Cook Inlet Conference in the state tournament. The Eagles lost 3-1 to South Anchorage in the Cook Inlet Conference championship game on Saturday.

Since first qualifying for the state tournament in 2016, JDHS has yet to win a game on the big stage. JDHS lost 7-2 to Chugiak and 8-1 to Dimond at last year’s tournament. The Mustangs went on to win state and Dimond came in fourth.

The year before that, the Crimson Bears lost to Dimond and Colony at state.

Jacob Dale hopes to be a part of the first senior class to get over that hurdle.

“We definitely have a better understanding of what the competition’s like and also what we need to do to prepare,” Dale said.

Dale said the team’s confidence level is the highest it’s been all year, having won four of its last five.

“I think what we lack in skill and talent we can hopefully make up for in our level of competitiveness,” Dale said.

It took everything for the Crimson Bears to get past Lathrop in the second-round of the MAC playoffs. Junior Bill Bosse scored five goals in a 6-4 win over the Malamutes that ensured they would be returning to the state tournament.

“He definitely was in his own world,” JDHS head coach Luke Adams said. “Everybody knew that he had the hot hand so we kept feeding him the puck and he was on fire.”

Thursday games

Noon: JDHS vs. West Anchorage

2:30 p.m.: West Valley vs. Dimond

5 p.m.: South Anchorage vs. Colony

7:30 p.m.: Wasilla vs. Service

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or

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