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Ice Dogs come up short against the Wilderness

Danny Martin dmartin@newmsiner.com

FAIRBANKS — Two things stand out in the third period for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs during Friday night’s North American Hockey League game against the Minnesota Wilderness.

One is the Ice Dogs tied the score at 3 with Jacob Hetz’s goal. The other is the Fairbanks generated only three shots in the final period en route to getting outshot 32-19 in of the opener of the Midwest Division series at the Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet, Minnesota.

Also, the third period is where the Ice Dogs saw the Wilderness quickly rally and eventually hand Fairbanks a 4-3 defeat.

 The Ice Dogs are 2-4-1 on the season and for the road trip that started their 2014-15 campaign following last season’s run to the Robertson Cup championship.

Caleb Schroer and Cayden Cahill combined to tie the score in the second period and goaltender Patrick Munson recorded 28 saves Friday for Fairbanks, which has lost three in a row and is 1-3-1 in its last five games.

Jack Forbort had two points, including the game-winning goal, and Brock Kautz registered 16 saves for the Wilderness, who lead the division at 4-1-0. 

The Ice Dogs are tied for third with the Coulee Region (Wisconsin) Chill in the five-team division. Each team has five points in the standings, as the Chill are 2-1-1.

Schroer and Cahill made it 2-2 in the second period Friday after Minnesota led 2-0 in the first period.

Schroer scored at 2:38 of the second with assists from Adam Kleven and Jakob Stridsberg, and Cahill evened the score at 2 with help from Tyler Berndt at 9:15.

Jesse Norling, aided by Dan Litchke, put the Wilderness ahead 3-2 at the 18:00 mark.

Hetz made it 3-3 at 8:03 from assists by John Teets and Robin Karlsson. 

Fifteen seconds later, Forbort delivered the eventual game-winner with help from Wilderness teammate Tyler Cline.

The Wilderness got a power-play goal from Robb Stautz and an even-strength marker from Michael Covach in the first period.

The Ice Dogs close the road trip with today’s game at 4:05 p.m. ADT against the Wilderness.

The Ice Dogs play their first home games of the season at the Big Dipper Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3-4 against the Bismarck Bobcats of North Dakota.

Fairbanks started this season with a split against intrastate and Midwest rival Kenai River Brown Bears in Soldotna, win 3-1 in the opener on Sept.12, and falling 5-3 the next night.

Before facing the Wilderness, the Ice Dogs posted a 1-2-1 record in the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota.

The Ice Dogs opened the tournament Sept. 17 with a 6-5 overtime loss to the Wichita Falls (Texas) Wildcats to gain the tie and one point in the standings. Fairbanks won 5-2 the next day against the Amarillo (Texas) Bulls, and on Sept. 19, lost by the same score to another Texas team, the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.

The Ice Dogs entered the tournament Sept. 20 with a 9-4 loss to the Austin (Minnesota) Bruins, whom Fairbanks defeated last May for the Robertson Cup.

Contact sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:  @newsminersports.