Ice Dogs claim shootout victory
by Joshua Armstrongfirstname.lastname@example.org
FAIRBANKS – In a game that lacked continuity, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs got a shootout win from two identical plays.
Forwards Jared Larson and Johan Skinnars each sent pucks past Alaska Avalanche goalie Landon Peterson\’s high glove side to give Fairbanks a 2-1 shootout edge and a 5-4 victory Friday night in Wasilla.
\”They were mirror images of each other … pretty much the same exact thing,\” Fairbanks coach Josh Hauge said by phone.
Ice Dogs netminder Jake Williams made 41 saves and stopped four pucks in the shootout to help Fairbanks improve to 10-7-1, three points behind the second-place Avalanche (10-3-4) in the North American Hockey League West Division.
The intrastate rivals, in their first of 14 meetings this season, traded scoring streaks throughout three wild regulation periods.
The Ice Dogs jumped to a 2-0 lead with goals from forward Michael Juola at the 16-minute, 51-second mark of the first period and defenseman Pete Spratte at 6:14 of the second.
Alaska quickly erased that deficit with three goals in 4 1/2 minutes.
A turnover off Fairbanks forward Mark Pustin\’s skate led to a breakaway goal for Avalanche forward Jacob Barber with 9:44 remaining in the second.
Fairbanks was stunned, and Alaska forwards Berkely Scott and Blake Huppert took advantage. Scott slipped the puck in the net with 6:06 left in the second period and Huppert gave Alaska a 3-2 lead less than a minute later.
\”We went into a shell, and they kind of took it to us for five minutes,\” Hauge said. \”They were boom-boom-boom goals, and we pouted for a little bit instead of responding.\”
But Juola – who has been looking to become a better goal-scorer – knocked one in 2:35 before the second intermission, recording his first multiple-goal game since a hat trick in the season opener.
\”That was huge: a veteran stepping up on a power play and getting us a goal when we needed it,\” Hauge said. \”It was clutch.\”
Larson notched another goal for the Ice Dogs\’ league-best power play at 5:33 into the third period, and Fairbanks skated with the lead for most of the period.
But Alaska forward Nardo Nagtzaam forced overtime, scoring with an extra attacker and 1:27 left in regulation.
Despite the five-minute lapse, Hauge was encouraged by the victory – especially since the Ice Dogs were missing three key players to illness (Josh Nelson, James Saintey and Will Aide) and Matt Millis to injury.
\”We found a way to win on the road, which is something we hadn\’t been doing too well earlier,\” Hauge said.
\”We made some mental mistakes, but we\’re starting to get to the way we want to play. We\’re not there yet, but we\’re going in a positive direction.\”
Fairbanks forwards Kyle Politz and Brock Carlston played sick, and each provided an assist along with Skinnars, Pustin and Zach Tolkinen.
Williams is 2-0-0 in two starts with the Ice Dogs since joining the team a week and a half ago.