FAIRBANKS- After coming out of the gates slow, including a few weeks in the NAHL Midwest Division cellar, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs have a chance to clinch the regular season division crown this weekend at home, their final regular season series.
The Dogs host the Kenai River Brown Bears in a three game series that begins Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the friendly confines of the Big Dipper Ice Arena. Friday and Saturday’s games begin at 7:30 p.m. respectively.
With 76 points on the season, the Dogs lead the Minnesota Magicians by six points. Going into the weekend, the Dogs’ magic number is 1.5. Meaning a win, combined with a Magician tie or loss, and the Dogs clinch the division. The Magicians, on Thursday, travel to play a reeling Janesville Jets team, losers of six straight games.
Ice Dog rookie goaltender Mattias Sholl has been on an absolute tear the second half of this season. His 1.8 goals against average leads the NAHL, while his .930 save percentage ranks fifth. The 18-year old from Hermosa Beach, CA is 15-1-3-1 on the season, and has won his last 11 starts.
Rookie, and Minnesota Golden Gopher recruit, Jonny Sorenson continues to lead the Dogs with 53 points, off 17 goals and 36 assists this season. Meanwhile, on the back end second-year defensemen Trenton Woods (+20) and Jake Borgida (+27) present a formidable defensive pairing.
Tickets for this weekend’s games are 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.