SPRINGFIELD, IL- The Fairbanks Ice Dogs split a 2-game series with the Springfield Jr. Blues to preserve a 1-point lead over their NAHL Midwest Division foes. The Dogs opened the series with an impressive 4-1 victory over the hosts on Friday night before falling 2-1 on Saturday. At 27-14-1-1 the Dogs have earned 56 points through 43 games this season.
The two teams traded first period goals Friday night, but it was all Ice Dogs from there. Brady Welsch scored the lone goal of the second period, while newcomer Braden Lindstrom potted his firs goal as an Ice Dog and Alexander Malinowski scored his second of the game in the third. Cameron Ricotta, in a very giving mood, registering 3 assists in the game. Kayden Hargraves, extremely effective in net, stopping 30 of 31 shots to secure the 4-1 win, his 16th of the season.
The scoring trend looked to continue on Saturday, as Jacob Conrad buried his second goal of the season just 40 seconds into the game, but the offense went quiet from there as the Dogs fell 2-1 to the Jr. Blues. Hargraves was again sharp, turning aside 37 of the 39 shots he faced in taking the loss in net.
The Ice Dogs currently hold a 1-point lead over Springfield in the Midwest Division, though the Jr. Blues have four games in hand over Fairbanks. The Anchorage Wolverines are nine points back of Springfield, in third place, with five games in hand over Fairbanks. The Minnesota Wilderness currently hold down fourth place with 43 points, but are locked into a battle with the Minnesota Magicians and Chippewa Steel. Just three points separate the three teams for the fourth and final Midwest Division playoff spot.
The Ice Dogs remain on the road, traveling to face the Steel on Friday in Chippewa before heading north to face the Wilderness in Cloquet on Saturday. They return to Fairbanks to host the annual 3-game stick it to cancer series against the Minnesota Magicians Feb. 17-19.
ALEXANDER MALINOWSKI- leads the Dogs and ranks second in the NAHL with a 21-31-52 scoring line
MALINOWSKI & BILLY RENFREW- co-lead Dogs with 21 goals this season
TYLER STEWART- leads NAHL (t) with six game winning goals this season
CAMDEN SHASBY- leads the Dogs and ranks fourth in the NAHL with a +26 rating (leads all rookies)
ICE DOGS- lead NAHL in scoring (4.09 goals per game)
ICE DOGS POWER PLAY- ranks 5th in NAHL (24..4%)
ICE DOGS PENALTY KILL- ranks 6th in NAHL (85%)