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Ice Dogs lose second straight to Wenatchee

Danny Martin Dmartin@newsminer.com

FAIRBANKS— The Fairbanks Ice Dogs were effective in penalty killing Saturday night, denying both of the Wenatchee Wild’s power plays during the finale of their North American Hockey League series in the Big Dipper Ice Arena.

The Ice Dogs, though, couldn’t find the back of net during five man-advantage chances, including four in the third period. 

The power-play deficiency was one of those things that Fairbanks collectively looked back on after it left its home ice with a 2-1 shootout loss that closed the three-game series against their former Midwest Division rival from Wenatchee, Washington.

“We were a little better than last night,’’ Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said, alluding to Friday’s 6-3 loss that was preceded by a 4-1 victory Thursday that gave Fairbanks 10 wins in a row.

“I believe we’re a better team than what we showed this weekend,’’ Stewart added. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, still.”

It’s safe to say that the power play will be an area that the Midwest Division leaders — 15-7-2 — stress during practices for the upcoming divisional series against the Minnesota Magicians (7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Big Dipper).

“We had our looks,’’ Stewart said of Saturday’s efforts with the extra skater. 

Said left wing Ethan Somoza, “If we had buried one, we would have won. So, we’ve got to work on that in practice.” 

Somoza produced the game’s first goal by scoring unassisted on an opportunistic situation at 3 minutes into the contest. 

Somoza gathered a Wenatchee turnover and skated in to slide it under the glove of Wild goaltender Zach Quinn, who finished with 30 saves.

“Their defenseman tried to clear it out of the zone,’’ Somoza said. “It took a bad bounce for them off the glass, and it came right to my stick. I had a mini breakaway, and I faked a forehand to the backhand and slid it in.”

Wild forward David Powlowski, with assists from Troy Conzo and Chris Jones, evened the score at 1 with 21 seconds left in the first period. Powlowski sent a shot from mid slot that bounced off an Ice Dogs defender’s skate, struck goaltender Patrick Munson’s pads and hopped into the net.

Munson finished the series finale with 36 saves.

Quinn and Munson were stellar in overtime, with four and five saves, respectively.  The Wild, though, converted two of four shootout attempts while the Ice Dogs were came up empty on their four tries in the extra session.

Powlowski put a forehand around a skate of a prone Munson on the first attempt of the shootout. Two skaters later for Wenatchee, Brendan Harris made a spin-o-rama move in the slot and sent the puck through Munson’s pads, helping improve Wenatchee’s record to 7-9-4 for a fifth-place tie in the South Division standings.

A spin-o-rama is rare in a shootout and can be risky, but Harris said it’s his most effective move for the situation.

“I’ve practiced it throughout the years, I’’ve been scoring a lot from it and built up confidence, and just go from there,’’  the second-year Wild skater said.

Munson made a pad save of Conzo’s shootout attempt and Jake Ahlgren’s backhand went wide against the Ice Dogs’ netminder.

Somoza had the Ice Dogs’ first shootout attempt, sending a forehand off Quinn’s pads. A backhand by Todd Burgess also went off the pads of Quinn, who got his glove to deflect Ryner Gorowsky’s forehand. 

Jacob Hetz’s forehand ended up in the Wild goalie’s glove, and the Ice Dogs ended up with a point in the Midwest standings but not with the outcome they were seeking.

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