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Ice Dogs fall, but still lead series

FAIRBANKS—The Fairbanks Ice Dogs couldn’t complete their three-game sweep over the Wenatchee Wild, falling in game 3, 2-1 Sunday night. The teams will head to Wenatchee for game 4 and, if need be, game 5.

As shown by its small score, the game was relatively low-energy, and Ice Dogs head coach Josh Hauge said that was a major factor in his team’s loss.

“We needed to play with more energy,” Hauge said, “and we tried to stray from our game plan. There was too much one-on-one and individual skill stuff. It just didn’t look like us.”

After a scoreless first period, Brandon Carlson got things started for the Ice Dogs, squeaking a puck past Wild goaltender Greg Lewis at the 17:12 mark. Colton Wolter and John Stampohar picked up the assists.

“I thought Colton played extremely hard,” Hauge said of the 17-year-old Lathrop high schooler.

Although they held Wenatchee without a goal in the middle period, Hauge said his team could have done more.

“We had a lot of opportunities in the second that we didn’t finish on,” he said.

Barely into the third period, Wenatchee made it a game, knotting the score at one.

DJ Vandercook scored on a pass from Max McHugh at the 2:08 mark, and at the 12:19 mark, Mario Puskarich, on a puck from Ben Carey, gave the Wild the lead for good.

Lewis finished with 23 saves for Wenatchee, and Brandon Jaeger, in the 49 seconds he played, made one save. 

Joe Phillippi 25 saves for the Ice Dogs, which bumps his three-game total to 118.

“Joe did OK tonight,” Hauge said. “It’s games like these that are why you put your 20-year-old in the pipes. It wasn’t his best game, but he’ll rest up and be ready to go on Thursday.”

The two teams battle again in Wenatchee, Wash., on Thursday. In the best-of-five series, Fairbanks needs only one more win.

“Well, we get another crack at them,” Hauge said of what positives came from Sunday’s loss. “We’ll take the time to get rested and focused and make adjustments on the game plan.”

The Ice Dogs are thankful they get another chance against the Wild, but they’re not excited, necessarily, Hauge said.

“The guys are both disappointed and amped for a second chance, I guess,” he said. “It’s a little too close still to be more amped yet. All they can probably focus on is the disappointment right now, but they don’t have long to wait, so the excitement will kick in before too long.”

Thursday’s game starts at 6:05 p.m.

Contact staff writer Renee Thony at 459-7583.

Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – Ice Dogs fall but still lead series