FAIRBANKS, ALASKA- Another weekend split for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, falling 2-1 on Friday and winning 5-3 on Saturday against the Minnesota Wilderness. The split allows the Dogs to keep pace with the Janesville Jets for the top spot in the NAHL Midwest Division.
Cameron Ricotta scored the lone Ice Dogs’ goal in Friday’s game, a power play tally with one second remaining in the second period. Kayden Hargraves turned in 26 saves in the 2-1 Wilderness win. Justin Biraben opened the scoring Saturday night, pirouetting on a puck from the right post to find the back of the net. However, the Wilderness would score the next three goals to take a 3-1 eight minutes into the second period. Things then began to change.
“Guys really started to support each other, both in the offensive and defensive zone,” said Ice Dogs’ Head Coach Dave Allison.
Billy Renfrew scored on the power play at 10:54 of the second, his 9th goal of the season cut the Minnesota lead to 3-2. Cole Burke won a puck battle behind the Wilderness net and found Biraben out front who one-timed his second goal of the evening to even the score at 3-3. The helper marked Burke’s 5th point of the season, but his influence doesn’t always show up on the scoresheet.
“He plays with his soul,” Allison waxed.
Jake Cameron scored his sixth goal of the season less than two minutes later, a bad angle shot that gave the Dogs a 4-3 lead. A lead they would not relinquish, as Domenick Evtimov scored on a third-period power play en route to a 5-3 Ice Dogs win. Hargraves earned the win in net, stopping 30 of the 33 shots he faced in the game.
The Ice Dogs league-leading power play went 3-for-7 on the weekend, increasing its efficiency to over 30 percent on the season. Meanwhile, the Dogs’ PK held the Wilderness to 1-for-6 with the man advantage during the two games. Ricotta leads the Ice Dogs with 19 points of 5 goals and 14 assists. Tyler Herzberg and Jacob Conrad
The Janesville Jets split their series with the Wisconsin Windigo over the weekend, leaving the Dogs and Jets tied atop an extremely competitive NAHL Midwest Division with 28 points on the season. Kenai River sits third, while the Wilderness and Chippewa are tied for the fourth spot in the division. Just four points separate the top 5 teams in the division.
The Ice Dogs home stand continues this weekend when Springfield comes to town for a 2-game series at the Dip. It’s the Dogs’ second matchup with the Jr. Blues this season, as the teams skated to a split in Illinois Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. GCI, the Ice Dogs official cell phone provider, sponsors Friday’s game, with Eyemart Express sponsoring Saturday’s game.
Single game tickets for both games are available online or locally at:
- Eielson ITT Community Center
- Ft Wainwright ASYMCA
- Play It Again Sports
- Gene’s Chrysler
- Ice Dogs office