FAIRBANKS — A strong first period and three assists from Ethan Somoza helped propel the Fairbanks Ice Dogs to their first win in the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota.
The Ice Dogs garnered a 5-2 victory over the Amarillo Bulls, of Texas, after the reigning Robertson Cup champions led 3-0 in the first period, survived a shotless second period and generated 24 shots in the third period.
Goalie Patrick Munson registered 20 saves and Jacob Hetz and Rhyner Gorowsky contributed two points for the 2-2-0 Ice Dogs.
Fairbanks also went 2 for 6 on the power play Thursday, making it 4 for 10 in their first two games of the four-day tournament at the Schwan Super Rink.
Fairbanks was 2 for 4 with the extra skater in Wednesday’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Wichita Falls Wildcats, also from Texas.
“After a loss, it was nice to get the players back on the ice,” Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said by cellphone.
Johnny Mueller, Adam Anderson and Hetz jump-started the Ice Dogs to a 3-0 lead in the opening period.
Mueller scored at 3:25 with assists from Gorowsky and Somoza, and Anderson converted a power play at 6:31, aided by Lonnie Clary and Robin Karlsson.
Hetz added the Ice Dogs’ other power-play tally at 16:18, aided by Somoza and Gorowsky.
“We had a good start,” Stewart said. “A lot of players contributed, stayed disciplined.”
Amarillo had the only goal of the second, Elijah Barriga’s marker at 1:47 with helpers from Rusian Rakhmatov and Kasper Emanuelsson. The Bulls compiled nine shots while the Ice Dogs didn’t get a single shot on net.
Fairbanks recovered its offense in the third period, sealing with a pair of empty-net goals. Jakob Stridsberg, set up by Hetz, put Fairbanks ahead 4-1 at 8:16 of the third and Somoza assisted on Joshua Gabriel’s deposit at 19:39.
Cody Gylling scored for Amarillo at 16:18 of the third, aided by Charlie Combs and Mike Damien. Joakin Jutras finished with 37 saves for the Bulls, of the South Division.
The Ice Dogs, of the Midwest Division, meet another Texas squad, the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at 4:45 p.m. ADT today and end the tournament Saturday against the Austin Bruins of Minnesota with a contest at 4:15 p.m. ADT.
The Ice Dogs defeated the Bruins for the Robertson Cup last May at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
Contact sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter: @newsminersports.