FAIRBANKS, ALASKA- In what can only be described as the top Fairbanks/Anchorage sports rivalry in the state currently, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Anchorage Wolverines played to a split over the weekend in Alaska’s largest city. The Ice Dogs won the first game ever played between the two franchises 3-1 on Friday, while the Wolverines claimed a 4-2 win on Saturday. The Ice Dogs and Wolverines each earned two points in the Club-49 Cup presented by Alaska Airlines. The Ice Dogs hold a 2-point lead over Anchorage in the 3-team intrastate tournament, which also includes the Kenai River Brown Bears. The Club 49 Cup resumes this coming weekend in Fairbanks, as the Wolverines make their first appearance at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
Kayden Hargraves stopped 30 of the 31 Wolverine shots he faced on Friday, while Anchorage native Camden Shasby scored at 17:04 of the second period to put the Dogs ahead for good in the 3-1 win. Nick Ostbloom scored earlier in the period, and Tyler Herzberg tabbed a third period shorty as the insurance goal. Brendan Miles tied Saturday’s game at 1 on a goal with just three seconds left in the first period. Jack Ring scored his 8th of the season with less than a minute to play in the second period, but the Dogs could never get over the hump, falling 4-2 to Anchorage.
The NAHL Midwest Division is extremely competitive with just eight points separating the top six teams in the division. The Springfield Jr. Blues found success on the Kenai Peninsula, winning two of three games over the Brown Bears to take over the top spot in the division with 31 points. The Dogs are two points back, followed by the Wolverines and Minnesota Wilderness, each with 27 points on the season.
Alexander Malinowski continues to lead the Ice Dogs with 26 points off 10 goals and 16 assists on the season. He is tied for sixth on the league’s scoring list. Billy Renfrew leads the Ice Dogs with 12 goals, good enough to rank ninth in the league, Owen Neuharth added a pair of assists against Anchorage. His 17 assists are tied for seventh most in the North American Hockey League. Hargraves is 10-3-0-1 in net this season, ranking sixth in the league with a 2.28 goals against average. His .921 save percentage ranks ninth in the league this season.
The home and home continues, as it’s Anchorage (vs) Fairbanks at the Big Dipper this weekend in Club 49 Cup play. Doors open both Friday and Saturday night at 6:30, with the puck dropping each night at 7:30. Now we need to show the Anchorage squad what Alaska hockey fans look like. Tickets are on sale now at Genes Chrysler, Play It Again Sports, the Fort Wainwright ASYMCA, the Eielson Community Center, the Ice Dogs office and online at the below link. The final series in the Big Dipper in 2021 is sponsored by Alaska Airlines, Doyon, La Quinta Inn & Suites, and Alaska Auto Rental.