FAIRBANKS- The community helped the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation’s Circle of Hope campaign Stick it to Cancer in record setting fashion. The 3-game series marked the 9th year the two organizations teamed up to honor survivors, spread awareness and raise money for cancer-related programs at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, through jersey auctions.
A bidding war erupted for the #25 jersey of Trenton Woods, a local defenseman who will play NCAA D-1 hockey for the home-town Alaska Nanooks next fall. The pink, navy and white sweater netted a record setting $14,000 in the final auction of the night, besting the previous record of $5,200 for John Teets in 2015. When Saturday’s bidding war reached $7,000, bidders Jon Odsather and Janice Durfee agreed to both donate their bids and co-own the jersey.
“Even in our 23rd season, I am still humbled and amazed at the amount of generosity and support this community shows in rallying together for this great cause,” said Ice Dog GM Rob Proffitt.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening out there,” Woods said. “My mind went blank when it hit $5,000.”
The Ice Dogs are 22-4 all time in Stick it to Cancer games. It was no different this weekend as the hosts swept the visiting Kenai River Brown Bears to extend their winning streak to 12 games. The Dogs won 7-3 on Thursday, 5-4 (OT) on Friday before Saturday’s 6-3 sweep sealing victory. Defenseman Evan Junker tallied the first two goals of his Ice Dogs career on Saturday. The rookie added an assist and a plus 3 rating to his breakout game scoresheet.
“It was a long time coming, I’m glad it happened, it feels good,” Junker said. “the emotions (of the first goal) were just unbelievable.”
Junker, or the Junk Yard Dog, as he’s known in the Dip, added 2 assists on Thursday for a 5-point series. He shared his thoughts on Stick it to Cancer during the player to player on-ice postgame interview known as “The Fairbanks Focus.”
“Everyone is affected by cancer, it sucks but its great to play for charity in this community,” Junker said.
The Dogs’ 69 points are second in the league to Amarillo, and their current win streak is tops in the league and longest such streak in the NAHL this season. With the sweep, the Dogs’ open a 15 point lead of over the second place Brown Bears. The Chippewa Steel is 21 points back of Fairbanks, with eight games in hand. The Dogs are idle this week, but return to action Feb. 14 against the Steel in Chippewa Falls.
Matt Koethe leads the Dogs and ranks seventh in the NAHL with 44 points off 16 goals and 28 assists this season. Oliver Kjaer is just a point back of Koethe with 43, but his 1.23 points per game leads the team and ranks ninth in the NAHL. The Dogs boast 11 players with 20 points or better, including Lucas Erickson, who has been on a tear since returning to the lineup Jan. 10. Erickson netted the overtime game winner on Friday, but saw his 4-game goal scoring streak snapped on Saturday. However, he extended his point streak to 7 games with an assist in the 6-3 win.
Following their bye week, the Ice Dogs embark on their final out of state road trip of the regular season. In addition to Chippewa, the roadie includes tilts with the Minnesota Magicians and Janesville Jets. The Ice Dogs return to Alaska for the remainder of the season with home series against the NE Generals, Amarillo Bulls and Brown Bears in the month of March.