FAIRBANKS, ALASKA- On a weekend that focused on honoring survivors and those battling the deadly disease of cancer, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs claimed five of six points from a 3-game series against the Minnesota Magicians. Jersey auctions raised over $70,000, a portion of which will go in support of the Circle of Hope, a program with the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation that benefits cancer patients in our community.
The series opened Thursday night, where Alexander Malinowski netted a natural hat trick, with all three goals scored unassisted to help the Dogs claim a 7-4 win. The Ice Dogs found themselves down 2-1 at the first intermission off a pair of first period goals from Lucas Kanta. Cameron Ricotta scored two goals, his 20th and 21st of the season, separated by just 16 seconds in the second period. However, it was the first of Malinowski’s goals, scored late in the second period that proved to be the game winner. Kayden Hargraves stopped 30 of 34 shots to claim the win in net.
Goals from Kevin Marx-Noren and Jake Hale had the Dogs out front 2-0 on Saturday night. However, the Magicians would tally the next three goals to take a 3-2 lead four minutes into the third period. Malinowski struck for his fourth goal of the series at 13:05 of the third frame to knot the game at three. Overtime wasn’t enough, so the game went to a shootout, where Hunter Longhi scored the lone goal to give the Magician a 4-3 shootout win.
The Dogs again surged to a lead in Saturday’s rubber match. A pair of goals from Malinowski, his fifth and sixth of the series, in addition to a Noah Griswold marker staked the Dogs to a 3-0 lead after two periods of play. The Magicians pulled a rabbit out of their hat to score three unanswered goals in the third period and send the game to overtime. The extra session would provide no winner, so once again the capacity crowd at the Big Dipper Ice Arena was treated to a shootout. And what a shootout it was. Longi and Marx-Noren swapped goals in the second round, but then the goaltenders took over. Hargraves and Josh Seeley dueled through the next six rounds, both turning away each shot they faced. Hargraves denied Denil Dolzhenko in the ninth round, while Brady Welsch sniped the shootout winner by Seeley to seal the 4-3 shootout win for Fairbanks.
The 5-point weekend for the Ice Dogs, combined with the red-hot Janesville Jets’ sweep of Springfield, and the Dogs are back in the division lead with 63 points. Springfield is two points back, while the Anchorage Wolverines maintain the third spot in the standings following a sweep of Kenai River. The Magicians are just four points back of the Wolverines in fourth place with 47 points. The Minnesota Wilderness and Janesville Jets are two points back of the Magicians, while Chippewa has 40 points on the season. It’s shaping up to be an extremely tight battle for the fourth and final playoff spot in the division.
The Ice Dogs, who have played a league high 48 games this season, get a well deserved weekend of rest. They return to action March 4, resuming Club 49 Cup play against the Wolverines in Anchorage. They travel to the Kenai Peninsula the following weekend for more Club 49 Cup action. The Wolverines, by virtue of a weekend sweep over Kenai River, have tied the Ice Dogs atop the Club 49 Cup standings with 21 points. The Dogs host the Wolverines in their next home series March 18-19.
ALEXANDER MALINOWSKI LEADS THE NAHL WITH A 28-34-62 SCORING LINE
MALINOWSKI RANKS SECOND IN NAHL WITH 28 GOALS
MALINOWSKI: 12 GAME POINT STREAK IN HOME GAMES
KEVIN MARX-NOREN RANKS 2ND IN NAHL WITH A 10-13-23 PP SCORING LINE
TYLER STEWART RANKS 3RD (T) IN NAHL WITH 6 GWG
TYLER KRIVTSOV RANKS 4TH (T) WITH .883 SHOOTOUT SAVE PERCENTAGE
ICE DOGS LEAD NAHL WITH 199 GOALS (4.15 PER GAME)