BLAINE, MINN- The Fairbanks Ice Dogs went 2-2 in the annual NAHL Showcase, dropping the first two games to Aberdeen and New Mexico respectively, before beating Bismarck 3-2 on Friday and Odessa 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday.
The Dogs outshot Aberdeen 43-30, but still found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-1 game. Jake Cameron scored the lone Ice Dogs goal, while Kayden Hargraves stopped 26 of the shots he faced on Wednesday.
Cameron had the Ice Dogs out in front of New Mexico with a first period goal on day two of the Showcase. However, the Ice Wolves responded for four consecutive goals to take command of the game en-route to a 5-2 win. Cole Burke scored an unassisted goal in the third, while Jack Olson made 30 saves in taking the loss in net.
The Dogs found themselves down 1-0 to Bismarck following the first period on Friday. Second period goals from Cameron Ricotta and Tyler Herzberg (PP) gave the Dogs a 2-1 lead in the second. It’s a lead they would not relinquish as Marc Lund scored early in the third, the eventual game winner in the 3-2 Ice Dogs victory. Hargraves tabbed 23 saves to collect his third win in net this season.
The Dogs once again found themselves trailing, this time to the Odessa Jackalopes on the final day of the Showcase. Julian Recine got the Dogs going with his third goal of the season, a power play tally at 15:41 of the first period.
Down 2-1 and on the power play in the second, Herzberg connected from the slot to tie the game just under 3 and a half minutes into the period. Domenick Evtimov released a bomb of a slap shot about 6 minutes later that beat Quentin Sigurdson to put the Dogs on top 3-2. Emerson Goode tied the game at three with a goal for Odessa at 13:17 of the second period.
To the third, where Cameron struck for this third Ice Dogs goal of the Showcase to give the Dogs a 4-3 lead just 61 seconds into the period. However those pesky Jackalopes tied the game 4-4 off Goode’s second goal of the game. That would be all the scoring for regulation, and overtime as the teams went to a shootout knotted at four.
Brady Welsch, Ricotta and Recine beat Sigurdson in the shootout, while Dylan Eliason stopped 3 of the 5 shootout attempts he faced so secure his first NAHL win. Eliason stopped 20 of 24 shots in regulation and overtime.
At 4-2 on the season, the Ice Dogs sit tied with Janesville atop the NAHL Midwest Division with 8 points. The Jets, however, went unblemished through the showcase and sport a 4-0 record. The Chippewa Steel hold the third spot with 6 points, while the Minnesota Wilderness are fourth with 5 points. Kenai River, Wisconsin and Springfield each have 4 points on the season, while Anchorage sits in the cellar with 3 points.
Recine and Welsch lead the Dogs, each with five points on the season. Recine, has 2 goals to go with 3 assists, while Welsch has a goal and 4 assists. Cameron’s 3 goals leads the team, while Welsch and Jacob Conrad lead the team in assists (4).
This is a fluid time for the roster. The Dogs dealt forwards Noah Griswold and Kevin Marx Noren to the Minnesota Wilderness in a trade, while signing defensemen Justin Chaput and Jonathon Barker.
Next up for the Dogs, a series with the Wisconsin Windigo, formerly known as the Minnesota Magicians.