Coon Rapids, MN- The Fairbanks Ice Dogs scrapped their way to a 3-1 performance at the North American Hockey League Showcase tournament over the weekend. They posted a 4-1 regulation win over Maine, with overtime wins over Danbury (2-1) and Minot (4-3). A showing that left the coaching staff feeling optimistic.
“We have a long way to go as a team, there is a lot of work to be done, but we feel we have the pieces to chip away at that endeavor,” said Ice Dogs Head Coach Trevor Stewart.”
The only setback, a 5-2 loss to Austin in the second game of the 4-day tournament.
“The players went through six games in nine days, and it was clear that mental and physical fatigue set in during game two of the Showcase,” Steward said. “The guys found ways to produce results though, and that’s encouraging.”
With a 4-1-0-1 mark, the Dogs sit second in the NAHL Midwest Division with 9 points on the season, just one point back of division leading Springfield. Veteran forward Zachary Murray leads the Dogs in scoring with 7 points on the young season, good enough for fifth in the league. He tallied a hat trick, which included the OT game winner against Minot Murray’s 5 goals rank second in the NAHL. Tyler Stewart’s 5 assists leads the Dogs and ranks seventh in the league. Goaltender Kayden Hargraves’ is tied for the league lead with 3 wins in net, with a 1.88 goals against average and a .928 save percentage.
The Dogs remain in the Lower-48, traveling to Wisconsin to take on the Janesville Jets in a 2-game bill. The Jets are off to a slow start going 1-3 in the Showcase, but do not expect the Ice Dogs to look past the long-time division rival.
“Janesville is always a tall order,” Stewart said. “They have a lot of skilled players and are a well run organization.”
The 2021-22 home opener comes Oct. 1 at the Big Dipper Ice Arena when the Dogs host Kenai River in the first game of the Alaska Airlines Club-49 Cup. Season tickets remain on sale, and single game tickets are now available online.