FAIRBANKS – The Fairbanks Ice Dogs fell behind early and couldn\’t catch up to the Alaska Avalanche.
The Avalanche (12-3-4) rode a three-goal first period to a 4-2 win over their North American Hockey League West Division rival on Friday night in Wasilla.
Fairbanks (10-9-1) dropped its second consecutive game to Alaska and is 2-6-1 against West opponents.
Despite the loss, Fairbanks coach Josh Hauge said the Ice Dogs played well and a few key turnovers and botched plays in front of the Ice Dogs\’ own net made the difference.
\”If we play as hard as we did tonight we\’re gonna have success,\” Hauge said. \”I\’m never happy with losing but the effort was there. We just made some big mistakes.\”
The Avalanche were boosted by goals from Matthew Friese, Zach Smith and Jacob Barber in the first period. Sean O\’Rourke scored in the first for Fairbanks.
Jake Williams, an Alaska forward, slipped the puck past Jake Williams, the Ice Dogs goalie, in the second period. Fairbanks\’ Joe Krause rounded out the scoring in the second with an unassisted goal with 3:11 remaining.
The Ice Dogs\’ Williams stopped 30 shots.
Michael Juola tabbed his NAHL-leading 20th assist of the season on O\’Rourke\’s goal.
Five players – two of whom were Ice Dogs – were tagged with fighting penalties 3:45 into the game, and Alaska forward Nardo Nagtzaam was ejected.
Fairbanks faces the Avalanche for the fourth straight time at 7 tonight in Wasilla.