SOLDOTNA, ALASKA- The Fairbanks Ice Dogs earned a series split with the Kenai River Brown Bears over the weekend, falling 5-2 on Friday before skating to a 4-1 win on Saturday. The victory on Saturday propelled the Dogs to a 1-point lead over Anchorage in the Club 49 Cup, presented by Alaska Airlines. It also allows them to maintain a 2-point lead over the Springfield Jr. Blues atop the NAHL Midwest Division standings.
Friday’s game was much closer than the score would indicate. Trailing 3-2 with just over two minutes to play in regulation, Kevin Marx Noren turned over a puck at his own blue line, which was then deposited into an empty net by Bryce Monrean. Caden Triggs would score into another empty net 40 seconds later to finish off scoring in the 5-2 Brown Bear win. Alexander Malinowski and Cameron Ricotta accounted for the Ice Dog scoring, while Kaden Hargraves stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced in taking the loss in net.
The Dogs once again found themselves down on Saturday, trailing the Brown Bears 1-0 at the first intermission. Coming into the game, Fairbanks was 1-8-0-1 when trailing after the first period of games this season. Something clicked. Malinowski won a puck battle off a face-off in the Bears’ zone and tied the game off a twisted-wrister that beat Cole Wheaton high glove to tie the game 1-1 a minute and 35 seconds into the second period. Jack Ring and Billie Renfrew scored power play markers, separated by just 44 seconds, later in the period to take a 3-1 lead into the second break. Renfrew added his second power play goal of the game, and 24th of the season in the third to finish off the scoring in a 4-1 Ice Dogs win. Tyler Krivtsov was outstanding in net, turning away 41 of the 42 shots he faced to earn the win.
It’s Military Appreciation Week, as the Ice Dogs make their return to the Big Dipper Ice Arena after what will be a month-long absence. The Dogs will honor our local military through special honor guard, national anthem singers, and ceremonial puck drops each night. Limited edition commemorative hoodies will be available only during the series at the merchandise stand.
“Just our way to Say Thank you to all those that have served and are serving,” said Ice Dogs General Manager Rob Proffitt. “Our partners are also very thankful for the military and have sponsored these two special nights. Alaska USA will be the sponsor on Friday and Kinross Ft Knox will be the sponsor Saturday.”
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Ice Dog players will sign autographs at the three Alaska USA branch locations Tuesday (3/15) and Thursday (3/17) from 2-4 p.m.. Fans can stop by to get autographs and enter to win a jersey signed by the entire team.
The series has huge playoff and Club 49 Cup implications, as the Anchorage Wolverines are coming to town. The Ice Dogs hold the slimmest of leads over the Wolverines in the inaugural race for junior hockey supremacy in the 49th State. Both Anchorage and Fairbanks have six Club 49 Cup games remaining on their regular season schedule, with four of those tilts coming against one another. The Brown Bears are out of contention and have four Club 49 Cup games remaining on their regular season schedule.
The Ice Dogs remain atop the NAHL Midwest Division standings with 67 points, two better than the Springfield Jr. Blues (65 points). While the Dogs and Jr. Blues battle for the division lead, the competition for the final two playoff spots in the midwest is hot. Just four points separate the third and sixth place teams.
Springfield snapped the Janesville Jets’ 11-game winning streak with a 5-2 win on Saturday. The Jets hold third place in the division with 57 points, one better than the fourth place Anchorage Wolverines (56 points) who were shutout 2-0 by the Minnesota Wilderness Saturday night. The Wilderness (55 points) are just a single point out of playoff contention, while the Minnesota Magicians are right on their heels with 53 points.
The Chippewa Steel still have a fighting chance at qualifying for post season play with 41 points and 11 games remaining on their schedule. The Brown Bears are out of contention.
ALEXANDER MALINOWSKI LEADS THE NAHL WITH A 30-38-68 SCORING LINE
MALINOWSKI RANKS 4TH (T) IN NAHL WITH 30 GOALS
MALINOWSKI: 12 GAME POINT STREAK IN HOME GAMES
KEVIN MARX-NOREN RANKS 2ND IN NAHL WITH AN 11-14-25 PP SCORING LINE
TYLER STEWART RANKS 4TH (T) IN NAHL WITH 6 GWG
STEWART: 9 GAME POINT STREAK IN HOME GAMES
ICE DOGS LEAD NAHL WITH 209 GOALS (4.02 PER GAME)
ICE DOGS POWER PLAY RANKS 4TH (26.8%) IN NAHL
ICE DOGS PENALTY KILL RANKS 6TH (84.4%) IN NAHL