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Ice Dogs preview possible playoff game against Kenai River Brown Bears

FAIRBANKS — The North American Hockey League playoffs are still two weeks away, but Fairbanks Ice Dogs fans could be getting a first-round preview this weekend when the Kenai River Brown Bears invade the Big Dipper Ice Arena tonight and Saturday.

The Ice Dogs have wrapped up the West Division title, and the Brown Bears are in fourth place. If the standings remain the same, the Ice Dogs will and Brown Bears will meet in the first round.

The Ice Dogs will be out to snap a two-game losing streak tonight after suffering a pair of losses against the Wenatchee Wild at the Big Dipper.

Ice Dogs coach Josh Hauge said the next two weekend’s games will give him the opportunity to evaluate his squad as the playoffs draw near. Fairbanks hosts the third-place Alaska Avalanche in a three-game series next following weekend.

“I will be a good chance for me to evaluate our guys in different situations,” Hauge said earlier this week. “At the same time, I’ll get to see two of the teams we might see in the playoffs.”

Hauge said forward Alex Jensen will return from the injury list this weekend and forward Max Birkinbine will join the team now that he has finished his high school career in White Bear Lake, Minn.

Tonight’s game is sponsored by the U.S Army, while Saturday night’s contest is sponsored by Taylored Restoration Services.

The Ice Dogs plan to honor the Icebreakers girls hockey team tonight and the NAHA Grizzlies ‘98 PeeWee team Saturday night. Both teams are headed to USA Hockey national tournaments in California later this month.

Ice Dogs tickets are available in advance at Sport King, Play It Again Sports, Eielson Air Force Base, Fort Wainwright and the Fairbanks Community Museum.

Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.

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