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Fairbanks Ice Dogs lose to Alaska Avalanche in shootout, 4-3

FAIRBANKS – The Alaska Avalanche gained a point on the Fairbanks Ice Dogs by posting a 4-3 North American Hockey League shootout victory Friday night at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.

The Ice Dogs battled back twice to tie the game in the third period. After a scoreless overtime period, the Avalanche won the seven-round shootout, 3-2.

The Avalanche (28-17-6) moved to within two points of the second-place Ice Dogs (30-19-4) in the NAHL West Division standings. Alaska has seven games remaining in the regular season and Fairbanks has five.

Whichever team finishes in second place will get home ice in the opening round of the NAHL playoffs, which start the first weekend in April.

The two teams will meet again at 5 p.m. today at the Big Dipper. It\’s their final regular-season meeting of the year.

Any fan who has a ticket to tonight\’s Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoff game between the Alaska Nanooks and Western Michigan Broncos and shows it at the Ice Dogs ticket window at the Dipper will get $2 off the price of admission. Conversely, any Ice Dogs fan who presents their ticket stub at the Carlson Center can get $2 off the price of admission to the Nanooks\’ game.

Justin Kirchhevel scored two goals and Zach Tolkinen got the game-tying goal at 16:47 of the third period for Fairbanks. Blake Huppert, Kyle Pichler and Logan Maly had goals for Alaska.

The Ice Dogs got off to a 1-0 lead at 18:06 of the first period when Kirchhevel beat Alaska goalie Kale Robertson off assists from Jon Waggoner and Aaron McGill.

The Avalanche penalty kill went to work in the second period, producing two short-handed goals. Huppert scored at the 16:42 mark and Pichler scored 19 seconds later to give Alaska a 2-1 lead.

Kirchhevel tied the game with a power-play goal midway through the second period off assists from Matt Mills and Tolkinen.

Maly picked up Alaska\’s third special teams goal at 14:03 of the third, a power-play marker with assists from Jake Parmenteau and Robb Halder.

Tolkinen tied the game at 16:47 off assists from Jon Schreiner and Mark Pustin.

Robertson made 25 saves on the night for the Avalanche, while Ice Dogs goalie Joe Phillipi stopped 35 shots.

Both teams went 1-for-5 on the power play.

The five-man shootout ended 2-2: Sean O\’Rourke and Brock Carlston scored for the Ice Dogs, while Zach Smith and Halder tallied for the Avalanche.

Seth Johnson scored in round seven for the Avalanche. Robertson then stopped Fairbanks\’ Tyler Voigt to secure the shootout win for Alaska.

The win snapped an seven-game Ice Dogs winning streak against the Avalanche.

Contact sports editor Bob Eley at 459-7581.