FAIRBANKS—Jesper Ohrvall’s patience lifted the Fairbanks Ice Dogs to a shootout victory over the Coulee Region Chill in Thursday night’s opener of a three-game North American Hockey League series.
With the shootout knotted at 1, the Ice Dogs right wing skated slowly through the slot. Ohrvall waited for Chill goaltender Adam Carlson to commit and he then slipped the puck around Carlson’s stick-side skate, generating cheers from the Ice Dogs fans who stuck around in the Big Dipper Ice Arena while the temperatures outside were in the minus 30s.
“I’ve made that move a couple of times before and I know if I get him to go to the right side, I have it,” said Ohrvall, who also accounted for Fairbanks’ goals in regulation and nine goals in the Ice Dogs’ last three games.
Ohrvall’s shootout move helped the Ice Dogs improve their second-place record in the Midwest Division to 27-12-3. Center Chandler Madry also scored in the shootout and had an assist in regulation. Jacob Hetz assisted on both of Ohrvall’s goals in regulation, Josef Ingman had an assist and goaltender Patrick Munson registered 27 saves.
The Ice Dogs and the third-place Chill (21-13-7) return to the Dipper at 7:30 tonight and Saturday night.
“They’re going to come out hard (tonight),” Munson said of the Chill. “They’ve got a lot of guys who are feisty and they don’t like to get pushed around. We’re going to have to answer the bell (tonight) right away, weather the storm and feed off the crowd.”
Eddie Matsushima’s forehand shot by Munson gave Coulee Region a 1-0 lead in the shootout and two shooters later, Madry slipped his attempt around Carlson’s skate.
Carlson finished with 30 saves while Adam Lovick and Sean Lang scored in regulation for the Chill, who were involved in the fourth straight game that was decided by one goal. All of their games last week at Kenai River came down to one goal.
The Ice Dogs are wearing pink jerseys during the series as part of their Stick-It-To-Cancer promotion. The jerseys also are being auctioned to benefit the Fairbanks Hospital Foundation’s Circle of Hope, which supports the breast cancer program at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
Coulee Region grabbed a 2-1 lead at 4:47 of the third period before Fairbanks responded at the 6:51 mark with Ohrvall’s second of the night.
Lang gave the Chill a 2-1 lead at 4:47 of the second period, bursting through the slot with Dawson DiPietro’s centering pass and sending a shot under Munson’s blocker. Ohrvall reunited with Hetz at 6:51, taking the left wing’s pass at the end of a rush and putting in a rebound shot to make it 2-2 and eventually force overtime.
The Ice Dogs finished regulation minus a player after Ryner Gorowsky received a game misconduct, a 10-minute misconduct and major penalties for fighting and grabbing the facemask during a skirmish at 13:18 of the third.
Following a scoreless first period, Lovick produced the game’s first goal at 2:15 of the second period with a line-drive shot from the left circle that was set up by Nico Luka and Richard Zehnal.
The Ice Dogs tied it at 1 on a 4-on-3 power play with Ohrvall’s rebound shot from the right circle at 14:14 of the second period. Madry had fired a shot from the left circle that Hetz corralled but his attempt went off Carlson and bounced out to Ohrvall.