FAIRBANKS — The rivalry between the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and the Wenatchee Wild is far from dead.
In fact, it livened up quite a bit Saturday night in Wenatchee when the Wild notched a 7-4 victory in front of 2,807 fans and gave the Ice Dogs their first outright loss of the season.
“Just in case anyone was wondering, the rivalry is back,” Ice Dogs coach Josh Hauge said following a game featuring 173 minutes in penalties, most of which came in the second period.
“It’s time to stop being politically correct,” Hauge said. “Our organizations don’t like each other, and I don’t like these guys.”
The Ice Dogs won the opening game of the three-game series 5-1 Friday night, so Hauge said this evening’s contest, which wraps up a season-opening 10-game road trip, is critical for the Ice Dogs.
“It’s been a long road trip, but I still feel like Sunday’s game is a must-win situation,” Hauge said.
The Ice Dogs are 6-1-2 on the trip and lead the NAHL West division. Wenatchee is second with a 6-2-0 mark.
The Ice Dogs cut a 5-2 deficit at the end of the third period to 5-4 early in the third before giving up the final two goals of the game.
“It was a combination of them trying to intimidate us and us just not playing very well,” Hauge said. “Their sixth goal was on a screen shot that went through every player on the ice. We’ve got to block that shot.”
The Ice Dogs’ other problem Saturday night was special teams. They allowed three power play goals and two shorthanded scores.
“Our penalty kill was just terrible tonight,” Hauge said.
While the first and third periods were relatively tame, the second was anything but.
There were 147 minutes of penalties during the 20-minute session, most coming at the 13:44 mark when ten 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were doled out.
“It was classic Fairbanks-Wenatchee,” Hauge said.
Charlie Thauwald scored two goals to pace the Fairbanks attack, while Gave Levin and Zach Vierling each had one.
Vierling and JT Osborn had two assists apiece for Fairbanks, while Alexander Jensen, Brock Carlston and John Stampohar had one each.
Neither Ice Dog goalie had a good night as Steve Perry stopped 12 of 15 shots and Joe Phillippi knocked down eight of 11.
Michael DiPluma led the Wild with two goals and an assist. DJ Vandercook had a goal and two assists, and Chris Rumble contributed three assists to the win.
Brandon Jaeger stopped 32 shots in earning the win for the Wild.
Following today’s game, the Ice Dogs make their first home appearance in the friendly confines of the Big Diipper Ice Arena as they take on the expansion Fresno Monsters at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Contact sports editor Bob Eley at 459-7581.