Ice Dogs earn shootout victory

By Danny Martin, DMARTIN@NEWSMINER.COM
Jan 14, 2018 Updated 9 hrs ago

FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks Ice Dogs have shootout sessions during practices on Thursday. Those sessions paid off for Tyler Deweese on Saturday night in the Big Dipper Ice Arena.

The utilty forward and former West Valley High School skater scored the game-

winner for the Ice Dogs in a 3-2 victory over the Lone Star Brahmas in the finale of a North American Hockey League series.

“Tyler’s kind of a guy who’s been in and out of the lineup,” Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said of Deweese, who has played in 20 of the 35 regular-season contests for the Midwest-Division leaders (25-5-3-2 for 55 points in the standings).

“Every Thursday, he’s a guy who’s moving on in rounds in shootout situations,’’ Stewart said. “It wasn’t an extremely difficult decision for us to put him in that situation (Saturday).”

The Ice Dogs scored twice in the shootout that came after a scoreless, five-minute 3-on-3 overtime, which was preceded by a 2-2 deadlock in regulation.

Erkka Vanska provided the shootout’s first tally with a wrist shot through the pads of Brahmas goaltender Mitchell Gibson. Ice Dogs counterpart Logan Neaton denied attempts by Ture Linden and Jon Russell before Deweese blazed up the ice and sent in a quick shot on the high glove side.

“I was coming down on my right side and I was going to go backhand but he (Gibson) was pretty solid on his blocker side,’’ Deweese said. “I faked him and got his glove to go down and then popped it upstairs. I was lucky it went in.”

The shootout victory also gave Fairbanks its 10th straight win and kept the Ice Dogs unbeaten in their last 19 games (17-0-2-0).

Lone Star’s  Austin Bottrell tied forced overtime by skating through the right circle and scoring at 18:16 of the third period off a crossing pass from Justin Addamo from near the left edge of the crease. Addamo was  defended by two Ice Dogs while he made the pass.

“Two good teams going at it,’’ Stewart said of the game. “I thought we were playing pretty well in the third period, protecting the lead. We made a mistake and they capitalized, which good teams do.

“We just put ourselves in a situation where we were going to get an extra point (in the standings),’’ Stewart said. “We had a couple of looks (scoring opportunities) in overtime and our guys did a good job in the shootout, starting with Logan Neaton.”

Caleb Hite gave the Ice Dogs a 1-0 lead with 55.6 seconds left in the first period, sending in a  high shot from the slot after he bolted up the up the ice with feeds from defensemen Noah Wilson and Nolan Schaeffer.

Kyle Hallbauer, with help from Brahmas teammates Linden and Jakub Sirota, made it 1-1 with a power-play shot from near the right point at 3:24 of the second period.

Jake Willets regained the lead for the Ice Dogs at 9:12 of the second with a rip from the left circle that struck Gibson’s spade and hopped over his glove. Willets was set up by John Stampohar and Grayson Gavin.

Gibson and Neaton each finished with 20 saves. The Brahmas, from North Richland Hills, Texas, gained a point in the standings and stayed in third place in the South Division at 17-10-4-3 for 41 points

The Ice Dogs, who defeated the Brahmas 3-1 Friday, play host to the Coulee Region Chill, of La Crosse, Wisconsin, in a Midwest series on Thursday through Saturday. Thursday’s game starts at 7 p.m., and the other two contests begin at 7:30 p.m. each day.

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