Dogs maintain leads in NA Midwest & Club 49 Cup

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA- Military Appreciation weekend at the Dip is always special, and 2022 was no different.

The 354th Fighter Wing Commander Col. David Berkland dropped the ceremonial puck to open the series. He was joined in pregame festivities by 354th Logistic Readiness Squadron Senior Airman David Young Jr. who performed the national anthem, while the Eielson Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors.

Kinross Fort Knox Mine Manager Mike Rowland, who served seven years in the United States Army, joined Command Sergeant Major Ruben Murillo in dropping ceremonial pucks on Saturday. Eve Baker from the Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office performed the national anthem, while the ROTC Color Guard Team from UAF presented the colors.

We once again thank all of those who are currently, and those who have served our country, for all they sacrifice to defend the freedoms that we enjoy.

To the ice where it was a tail of two games. Anchorage controlled the action throughout a 4-2 victory on Friday, while the Ice Dogs came alive to score seven unanswered goals in an 8-3 win on Saturday. The split means that Fairbanks maintains a 1-point lead in the Alaska Airlines Club 49 Cup, and a 2-point divisional lead over Springfield.

The Wolverines jumped out to a 3-0 lead six minutes into the second period of Friday’s game before Tyler Stewart got the home team on the board with a goal scored at 19:21 of the frame. The Dogs were unable to ride any momentum from that goal to open the third period. Matt Johnson shut the door on the Anchorage victory, scoring his 18th goal of the season midway through the final stanza. Ice Dog rookie Tristan Sarsland scored his first career NAHL goal to close out scoring in the 4-2 Wolverine win.

The Ice Dogs missed out on several grade-A opportunities as the teams skated to a scoreless tie through the first period and a half of Saturday’s game. The Ice Dogs then proceeded to blow the roof off the joint, scoring four goals in a span of four minutes. Alexander Malinowski opened the barrage at 10:23 of the second period, scoring his team-leading 31st goal of the season. Brendan Miles scored less than two minutes later, and Sarsland added his second of the series 35 seconds after after that to make it a 3-0 Ice Dogs lead. Jake Hale tallied his 12th of the season at 14:23 of the period and the route was on.

“That’s kind of been our whole thing this season,” Hale said of the 4-goal outburst. “We’re buzzing best when we get one and the flood gates open.”

The gates remained open, as Stewart added his second goal of the series to make it a 5-0 Ice Dogs lead after two periods. Marc Lund and Nolan Cunningham each buried their 6th goals of the season to stretch the lead to 7-0 midway through the third period. The Wolverines got on the board at 10:12 of the third, but too little too late in an 8-3 Ice Dogs win. Noah Griswold scored the final Ice Dogs’ goal of the game, while Tyler Krivtsov stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced in earning the win in net for Fairbanks.

The inaugural Alaska Airlines Club 49 Cup is proving to be an outstanding 2-team race between the Ice Dogs and Wolverines, with the Kenai River Brown Bears in prime position to play spoiler. Fairbanks holds the slimmest of leads in the battle for junior hockey supremacy in the state of Alaska. Each team has a chance at eight additional Club 49 Cup points to close out the season.

The race for the NAHL Midwest Division regular season crown is also extremely competitive. With 69 points, the Ice Dogs hold a 2-point lead over the Springfield Jr. Blues. However, Springfield still has two games in hand over the Ice Dogs and a slight advantage in winning percentage. The Minnesota Wilderness (61 points) and Janesville Jets (59 points) have surged to 3rd and 4th place respectively. Both teams are 8-2 in their past 10 games. The Anchorage Wolverines (58 points) are currently on the outside looking in at a playoff spot, while the Minnesota Magicians are just two points behind them. It should be noted that the Wolverines have 10 games remaining on their schedule, more than any other team in the Midwest Division. Chippewa is on the brink of elimination, while the Brown Bears are out of contention for post season play.

The Ice Dogs return to the Big Dipper Ice Arena Friday and Saturday to host Chippewa in a 2-game series. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and puck drop is at 7:30 each night. 3-Tier Alaska and Travis/Peterson Environmental Consulting sponsor Friday’s game, while RES—Renewable Energy Systems and Arctic Home Living sponsor Saturday’s game.

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DOG BITES

  • ALEXANDER MALINOWSKI LEADS THE NAHL WITH A 31-40-71 SCORING LINE

  • MALINOWSKI RANKS 4TH (T) IN NAHL IN GOALS; 4TH IN ASSISTS

  • MALINOWSKI: 14 GAME POINT STREAK IN HOME GAMES

  • KEVIN MARX-NOREN RANKS 2ND IN NAHL WITH AN 11-15-26 PP SCORING LINE

  • TYLER STEWART RANKS 5TH (T) IN NAHL WITH 6 GWG

  • STEWART: 11 GAME POINT STREAK IN HOME GAMES

  • ICE DOGS LEAD NAHL WITH 219 GOALS (4.06 PER GAME)

  • ICE DOGS POWER PLAY RANKS 4TH (26%) IN NAHL

  • ICE DOGS PENALTY KILL RANKS 5TH (84.7%) IN NAHL