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Ice Dogs over matched in New Jersey

FAIRBANKS — One night after the Fairbanks Ice Dogs snapped an 11-game winless streak, the North American Hockey League’s reigning Robertson Cup champions were blanked by the New Jersey Titans, 2-0, in Middletown, New Jersey, on Saturday night.

The Ice Dogs’ offense lit up the Middletown Ice World Arena in Friday’s 5-4 victory. However, the team failed to find the back of the net against Titans goaltender Brandon Bussi, who made 27 saves to secure the shutout in the series finale.

With the loss, Fairbanks drops to 8-15-2-1 on the season. The Ice Dogs were 0-10-1 in their past 11 games before Friday’s victory.

New Jersey, meanwhile, improves to 20-9-1-0. The Titans are second in the East Division with 41 points.

Dylan Healey put New Jersey on the board with a power-play goal 12:10 into the opening period. William Reidell and Jordan Kaplan each registered helpers on Healy’s eighth goal of the season.

After a scoreless middle period, Kyle Head extended the Titans’ lead to 2-0 when he tickled the twine for the first time this season 15:57 into the third period. Danny Eruzione tallied his 17th assist on Head’s score.

CJ Boothe started in net for Fairbanks, making eight saves during the first period. Josh Benson entered in relief after the first intermission, as he stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced in the final two periods of play.

While New Jersey capitalized on its first man-advantage of the night, the Ice Dogs failed to manufacture a goal on each of their five power plays.

With 19 points, the Ice Dogs currently sit in fifth place, ahead of the Kenai River Brown Bears (14 points), in the Midwest Division standings.

Fairbanks will remain on the road next weekend, as they’ll head to Attleboro, Massachusetts, for a three-game series against the Northeast Generals, of the East Division.

The Ice Dogs and Generals will play Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with all three games scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. AKST.

Northeast was swept by Kenai River in Attleboro this weekend, as the Brown Bears picked up a 2-1 overtime victory on Friday before upending the Generals 4-3 on Saturday.

Contact News-Miner sports writer Brad Joyal at 459-7530. Follow him on Twitter: @bradjoyal.