FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks Ice Dogs showed promise Saturday night, tying the Minnesota Wilderness at 1 in the first period of the finale of their North American Hockey League series.
The promise slipped away from the defending Robertson Cup champions, who lost 5-3 and were swept by the Midwest Division-leading Wilderness at the Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet, Minnesota.
Fairbanks fell 4-3 Friday and with the addition of Saturday’s setback, the Ice Dogs slipped to 2-5-1 overall and remained in a fifth-place tie with the Coulee Region (Wisconsin) Chill in the Midwest.
Fairbanks also lost for the fourth straight game and are 1-4-1 in their last six contests, all on the road.
Jakob Stridsberg’s power-play goal, with assists from Ice Dogs teammate Chandler Madry, made it 1-1 at 14:43 of the first period. Tyler Cline’s power-play goal had given the Wilderness a 1-0 lead at 53 seconds into the game.
The Wilderness snapped the tie with three goals in a row, as Tobias Bjorklund scored at 9:07 of the second and 3:07 of the third, and Robb Stautz found the back of the net at 6:03 of the third.
Ryner Gorowsky planted an unassisted goal for Fairbanks at 14:24 and teammate Ethan Somoza, aided by Caleb Schroer, scored into an empty net at the 19:22 mark.
In between, Darian Romanko’s power-play marker at 17:07 of the third, eventually sealed the win for Minnesota (5-1-0).
The Ice Dogs play their first home games of the season against the Bismarck (North Dakota) Bobcats at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
Contact sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.