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Titans sweep Ice Dogs at Dipper

Bob Eley FOR THE NEWS-MINER

FAIRBANKS — The New Jersey Titans accomplished a North American Hockey League rarity on Saturday night.

The Titans registered a 3-1 victory against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs to complete a two-game sweep of the defending Robertson Cup champions and are one of the few North American Hockey League teams to sweep all four games of a road trip to Alaska. The Titans swept a two-game series against Kenai River last weekend in Soldotna.

“That’s a special group of young men we have in that locker room,” New Jersey coach Craig Doremus said as the Titans celebrated behind closed doors. “There’s probably 15 Division I hockey players in there and they all sacrificed the me for we today.”

Gordie Helmuth, who began the season with the Ice Dogs, got the game-winning goal for the Titans as he scored off a face-off with 5:13 remaining in the game to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead.

“It was great to see him put that one in,” Doremus said.

It was the third loss in four home games for the Ice Dogs and coach Trevor Stewart continued to question the effort some of his players were putting forth.

“Our 4-0 start was probably a little smoke and mirrors and this team is about where it should be right now,” Stewart said after the Ice Dogs dropped to 5-4-1-1 on the season. “We need to work a lot harder than we have been and if we can’t do that in the next two weeks, we’re going to have to find some guys who are willing to do that.”

The Ice Dogs have next weekend off, then return to the Dipper to host the Kenai River Brown Bears in 7:30 p.m. games on Oct. 21 and 22.

“Once again we didn’t have the effort it takes to get a victory,” Stewart said in assessing the Ice Dogs performance. “We had our chances in the offensive zone tonight, but we just didn’t bear down the way we should have.”

The Ice Dogs also ran into another hot goaltender as New Jersey’s Harrison Feeney stopped 30 shots to earn the win. Brandon Bussi earned a 4-2 win on Friday night by stopping 27 shots.

“Our goaltenders played very well this weekend to say the least,” Doremus said.

The Ice Dogs came out strong and got on the scoreboard first when Colton Fletcher scored at the 6:50 mark off assists from Ryan Kero and Tanner Schachle, but that was the only time Fairbanks lit the lamp all night.

New Jersey tied the score at 17:39 of the first period when Jordan Kaplan fired a wrist shot past Fairbanks goalie CJ Boothe, who came up with 30 saves on the night.

The score remained tied until Helmuth registered the game-winner with about five minutes to go.

Kaplan scored his second goal of the game, firing the puck into an empty net to seal the win for the Titans, who improved to 7-2-1-1 on the season.

Both teams went 0 for 2 on the power play Saturday night.

Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7586.