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Ice Dogs top Monsters in California

FAIRBANKS—The Fairbanks Ice Dogs are on the final stretch before their holiday break, and they’re determined to go out with a bang. Wednesday’s 7-3 win over the Fresno Monsters marked the seventh straight North American Hockey League win for the Ice Dogs, whose last loss came on Nov. 26 against the Kenai River Brown Bears.

“I’m pleased with our guys,” Fairbanks head coach Josh Hauge said following Wednesday’s game. “We played pretty well, took a few minutes off here and there, but overall, it was solid. I won’t say it was great, but they did good.”

Hauge said goalie Joe Phillippi had a great night for the Ice Dogs in the pipes, stopping 28 of the 31 shots he faced.

“Phillippi was great for us,” Hauge said. “He made a couple huge saves when Fresno could have made it a game.”

In addition to Phillippi’s strong game, the Ice Dogs’ forwards had a strong night, as well. All seven goals came from the sticks of Fairbanks forwards.

Tyler Voigt, on an assist from JT Osborn, and Gabe Levin scored in the first period for the Ice Dogs. Matt Millis and Preston Hodge picked up the assists on Levin’s score.

In a high-scoring second period, Jared Linnell and Osborn scored. Linnell scored, on a pass from Voigt and Brock Carlston, at the 5:58 mark. Osborn put two away, one on the power play at 8:58, the second at 16:40.

Fresno managed two scores in the second by Jeffrey Pauluk and Riley Borer.

Tayler Munson scored an unassisted shorthanded goal for the Ice Dogs at the 3:59 mark of the third period before Alec Hajdukovich sealed the Monsters’ fate with a power play goal at 8:10. Zach Vierling and Sean O’Rourke, who both assisted Osborn’s first goal, also picked up assists on Hajdukovich’s score.

“The way our forwards finished was big for us, too,” Hauge said.

The team has today off before wrapping up their Fresno series with 7:35 p.m. games Friday and Saturday.

“We’re taking (today) to have some fun,” Hauge said, adding his team plans to go go-karting. “We just want to enjoy this California weather.”

Everyone is anxious for their holiday break, Hauge said, but if they want to win the next two games, they’ll have to play strong and keep their heads.

“If we focus and play how we can, we can win these next two,” he said.

The win moves the Ice Dogs to first in the NAHL’s West division (20-9-2), one point ahead of the Alaska Avalanche.

Contact staff writer Renee Thony at 459-7583.