RICHFIELD, MN- The Fairbanks Ice Dogs finish off a grueling 31-day road trip with a two-game series against the Minnesota Magicians beginning Friday night (7 p.m. CST, 4 p.m. AST). It will mark the first round of divisional games for the Dogs, who sit at 1-4-0-1, with three points on the season. Meanwhile the Magicians come into their home opening series with 6 points following a 3-1 showing in the NAHL Showcase tournament last week.
“They’re a talented team that saw a lot of success at the Showcase,” said Ice Dogs Head Coach Trevor Stewart, “We have our work cut out for us, but we look forward to the challenge.”
There will be a viewing party in Fairbanks at the Finish Line Restaurant, located at the La Quinta Inns & Suites near the Airport on Dale Road. Ice Dog fans in Minnesota will gather at The Legion, near the rink in Richfield, for pregame festivities from 3-7 p.m.
The Dogs, this week, made necessary roster moves to cut down to a required 23 man roster. The moves include the trade of goaltender Riley Sims, the addition of net minder George McBey, and defenseman Jordan Kovacs. Stewart is optimistic that with roster moves behind them, the players will begin to gel as a team.
“They know this is the team that’s headed back to Fairbanks together, so now it’s time to move forward in a positive direction,” Stewart said.
The Dogs are looking to shore up their back end, as their 3.83 goals against average ranks 21st in the league. The dogs are also near the back of the pack offensively, as their 2.0 goals for average is tied for 19th in the NAHL. Stewart expects his younger forwards to eventually adjust to the speed of play in junior hockey, but needs more from production from his veteran scorers.
“It’s time for those guys to step up and start putting the puck in the net,” Stewart said.
View the Ice Dogs’ season stats.
Following this weekend’s series the Dogs will return to the friendly confines of the Big Dipper Ice Arena for their home opening series agains the Janesville Jets October 5-6.