FAIRBANKS – The Fairbanks Ice Dogs went from a high-scoring win on Wednesday to a low-scoring shootout loss on Friday. What tonight\’s North American Hockey League rubber match against the Texas Tornado will bring is anybody\’s guess.
The Ice Dogs and Tornado engaged in a defensive struggle on Friday that was scoreless through two periods and ended as a 2-1 shootout triumph for Texas.
Fairbanks came out strong but could not capitalize on a 14-2 advantage in shots during the first period as Texas goalie Dan Sullivan denied every attempt.
Texas then doubled up Fairbanks in shots during the second period, 16-8, but still the game remained scoreless as Ice Dogs goaltender Joe Phillippi came up big.
Texas finally broke through 3:18 into the third period on Nick Taurence\’s second goal for the Tornado since he was acquired from Alpena on Jan. 8.
The Ice Dogs fought back when forward Will Aide, who leads the team in penalty minutes and is known primarily for his fighting and not his offensive skill, scored at 7:29 with assists from Brock Carlston and Alec Doig. The marker was Aide\’s third in 34 games this season; he also collected four penalty minutes to bring his season total to 171.
The score remained 1-1 through regulation and the five-minute overtime, bringing about a five-round shootout.
Things looked promising for Fairbanks when Zach Tolkinen buried the first attempt, but Texas\’ James Howard knotted the score in the third round. In the fifth round, James Saintey of the Ice Dogs failed to convert but Erick Ware of Texas did, thus giving the Tornado two points in the standings and relegating Fairbanks to one.
Fairbanks (27-16-3) remains in second place in the West division while Texas (17-19-4) is fourth in the South.
Phillippi made 31 saves for the Ice Dogs and Sullivan had 28 for the Tornado.
On Wednesday, Michael Juola of the Ice Dogs scored seven points in his team\’s 7-6 overtime win.
Though tonight is the series finale, the Ice Dogs and Tornado will clash in a two-game series Feb. 12-13 at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks.
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.