Ice Dogs fall in OT in Showcase opener

By Danny Martin DMARTIN@NEWSMINER.COM

FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks Ice Dogs outshot the Wichita Falls Wildcats and registered a 50-percent efficiency on their power play.

The Ice Dogs, though, came up short on the scoreboard, falling 6-5 in overtime to the Texas team in Wednesday afternoon’s opening game of the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota.

Jesper Ohrvall provided the game’s first two goals and finished with three points for the defending Robertson Cup champion, which dropped to 1-2 this season with its second straight loss.

Fairbanks grabbed a 5-3 lead with three goals in the second period. 

First-year Ice Dogs forward Cayden Cahill, set up by fellow newcomer Caleb Schroer, evened the game at 3 at 7:32 of the second.

Veteran forward Jacob Hetz, aided by Ohrvall and veteran forward Chandler Madry’s second assist of the game, planted a power-play goal at 16:18. The Ice Dogs finished 2 for 4 on the power play compared to the Wildcats’ 2-for-5 effort.

Defenseman John Teets  scored for the Ice Dogs at 16:51 of the second, helped by fellow newcomer and blueliner Robin Karlsson.

The Wildcats, of the NAHL South Division, responded in the third period with consecutive goals from Evan Okeley.

Okeley made it 5-4 at 5:30 with help from Nikita Liviak and Colin Staub, and tied it at 14:27 another helper from Staub and an assist from Shane Kuzmeski.

Alex Falconer, set up by Tommy Apap, delivered the game-winner for Wichita Falls at 2:28 into overtime.

Ohrvall, a first-year Ice Dogs forward from Halmstad, Sweden, seized a 2-0 lead for Fairbanks during the first 9 minutes, 30 seconds of the game. 

Ohrvall capitalized on an assist from veteran forward Chandler Madry at 6:30 of the first period. He scored at 9:28 with helpers from newcomer defenseman Dalton Skelly and veteran forward Jacob Hetz.

The Wildcats’ Nick Farmer, with the first of three points from Cam Knight on Wednesday, made it 2-1 with a power-play deposit at 19:31.

Wichita Falls jumped ahead 3-2 in the second period with Paul Soubry’s goal at 4:10 and Knight’s power-play marker at 5:27. Cole Nichols and Wilson Vershay assisted Soubry and Austin Beaulieu helped Knight..

Wichita Falls was the first of three straight Texas opponents for the Ice Dogs in the four-day Showcase.

Fairbanks faces the Amarillo Bulls at 1:30 p.m. ADT today and takes on the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at 4:45 p.m. ADT Friday. The Ice Dogs close the tournament against Austin Bruins of Minnesota at 4:15 p.m. Friday.

The Ice Dogs defeated the Bruins for the Robertson Cup last May at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.

The Ice Dogs opened this season with a split in the Soldotna Sports Center against the Kenai River Brown Bears, their intrastate and Midwest Division rival. Fairbanks won the first game 3-1 on Sept. 12 and lost 5-3 the next night.

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