FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks Ice Dogs closed out the North American Hockey League Showcase with a 5-0 victory against the Chicago Hitmen on Saturday evening in Blaine, Minn.
The Ice Dogs took control right from the start, scoring in the first period, and goalie Steve Perry stopped all 29 shots he faced.
The Ice Dogs finished the Showcase with a 3-0-1 record.
“It wasn’t perfect but we got seven out of eight points,” Ice Dogs Josh Hauge said in assessing the opening weekend of the season. “Out of the 12 periods, I would say we played well for eight, so there are a lot of things we still need to work on.”
The Ice Dogs will be on the road the next two weeks. They play at Wichita Falls on Friday, and at the Texas Tornado on Saturday and Sunday. The following week, Fairbanks has a three-game series at the defending NAHL West Division champion Wenatchee Wild.
“We put ourselves in good position to be in the game against Wichita Falls and Texas this weekend,” Hauge said. “Then we’ll see how we stand up against Wenatchee.”
John Stampoher scored two goals and JT Osborn continued to find the back of the net to lead the Ice Dogs offensive attack. Charlie Thauwald and Zach Vierling also scored goals for the Ice Dogs.
“I thought that we outplayed them more than the score indicated,” Hauge said. “We’ve got to take advantage of the chances we get to extend the lead and we didn’t do that as much as I would have liked tonight.”
Osborn scored the only goal the Ice Dogs needed at 6:48 of the first period off an assist from Thauwald.
The Ice Dogs scored twice in the second and third periods with Stampoher scoring once in each session. Thauwald tallied in the second and Vierling scored an unassisted goal in the third.
Other Ice Dogs assists were credited to Zach Blaisdell, Gabe Levin and Jared Linnell.
The Ice Dogs outshot the Hitmen 35-26.
Contact sports editor Bob Eley at 459-7581.