FAIRBANKS, ALASKA- The Fairbanks Ice Dogs entered their game against the Springfield Jr. Blues Saturday night leading the NAHL Midwest Division by one point over their foes from the state of Illinois. They left the Big Dipper Ice arena trailing by a point.
A goal from Cole Schneider with 26 seconds remaining in the second period, and one from Andrew Shultz just over a minute into the third were too much for the Dogs to overcome as they fell 4-3 to the Jr. Blues. Love Bergvall and Dakota Macintosh brought the capacity crowd to life with goals separated by just 20 seconds midway through the third period, but too little too late as the Dogs could not complete the comeback.
The Dogs had to fend off a comeback on Friday night. Fairbanks led 2-0 after two periods of play, thanks to goals from Owen Neuharth and Alexander Malinowski. Springfield scored 3 goals in the final frame to knot the game with under four minutes to play. Cue the local, as Billy Renfrew scored with less than a minute to play, his second of the period and 10th of the season to send the Dogs to a 4-3 win.
“It felt great,” Renfrew said during his Fairbanks Focus post-game interview. “The fans were amazing and it was nice to put one in the back of the net to seal the deal.”
Now the Dogs trail the Jr. Blues by one point for the top spot in the NAHL Midwest Division. However, the Ice Dogs hold a higher winning percentage than Springfield… HOWEVER again, the sneaky Minnesota Wilderness own the highest winning percentage in the division, winning 70% of their games this season.
Malinowski ranks seventh in the league in overall scoring with 18 points off 6 goals and 12 assists this season. Renfrew ranks fifth in power play goals with four and his three game winning goals are tied for second most in the league. Kayden Hargraves, who earned the win Friday night, ranks fifth in the NAHL with a 2.05 goals against average. His .923 save percentage also ranks seventh among league goal tenders.
The Dogs hit the road, but remain in the 49th state, traveling to face the last place Kenai River Brown Bears Friday and Saturday. Watch parties are scheduled at Fenders Restaurant in Fairbanks for both games, which start at 7:30 p.m. The series marks the return of the Club 49 Cup, an in-season series between the three Alaska-based NAHL teams.
The Dogs return to action at the Dip the following weekend, with a 3-game tilt with the Janesville Jets Nov. 4,5 and 6. Single game tickets are available at the link below: