Fairbanks-The Fairbanks Ice Dogs notched their first win at the Big Dipper Ice Arena this season, a 5-0 shutout of the Janesville Jets Saturday night. Luke Ciolli and Jax Murray each tabbed a pair of goals, while net minder Nate Reid made 18 saves to collect his second shutout of the season.
“We needed a strong goaltending performance tonight, and that’s what he gave us, said Ice Dog head coach Trevor Stewart. “He stopped the pucks he should have, and stopped a couple you don’t expect a goalie to stop.”
One instance of the latter came in the second period with the Dogs leading 2-0. Jet forward Erik Palmqvist found room down low, and spun a shot that Reid deflected with a toe save (and a beauty) as a pile up developed with the puck loose in blue paint.
“It felt like everyone collapsed down on me and I was on my side,” Reid said in describing the play. “I just swung my legs out and got it (rebound shot). A little lucky, but I just reacted.”
Another excellent effort in D-zone coverage for the Dogs, who spent the evening in shot and passing lanes. The Ice Dogs limited the Jets to single digit shots in each of the six periods played over the weekend, including a three shot third period Saturday night.
The Jets also did well in limiting Ice Dog chances, holding the hosts to 17 shots on the night. However unlike the previous two games, the Dogs made good on their opportunities.
Ciolli lit the lamp at 18:49 of the first period, giving the Dogs momentum and a 1-0 lead heading into the second stanza. Midway through the second, with the Ice Dogs on the Finish Line penalty kill, Ciolli found the puck on his stick, and rushed up ice en route to his second goal of the game.
“I came in and put up a pretty weak shot on net,” Ciolli said. “I circled around and Leddy (Grant Ledford) threw one off the goalie’s pad. I was there and just banged it in.”
A Jack Johnston power play goal was bookended by a pair of Murray goals, as the Dogs blew the game open in the third period. The win allows Fairbanks to climb out of the NAHL Midwest Division cellar with seven points. Division leading Kenai River extends its point total to 14, as the Brown Bears swept the Chippewa Steel in Soldotna over the weekend. The Ice Dogs host the Steel next Friday and Saturday at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
Tickets for next weekend’s series will be available at Play it Again Sports, Gene’s Chrysler, Fairbanks Community Museum, Ft. Wainwright ASYMCA, Eielson Community Center, the Ice Dogs office, and as always online at fairbanksicedogs.com.