-Richfield, Minn. The Fairbanks Ice Dogs (2-5-0-1) dropped a Midwest divisional game, 3-2 to the Minnesota Magicians (4-2-0-0) Saturday night, allowing the hosts to escape with a split of their home opening series. The Dogs will now head north in anticipation of their home opener, when they host the Janesville Jets Friday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m. AST at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
The Ice Dogs would never lead in a game where they outshot their opponent 41-25. Trailing 1-0, Jonny Sorenson found Grant Ledford, who snapped a shot passed Ethan Haider, locking the game at 7:05 of the second period.
Chris Konin answered at 16:14 of the period, to put the Magicians up 2-1 heading into the second intermission.
With the Dogs on a third period power play, a scrum in front of the Magician net ended up with the puck behind Haider, and trickling into the net to knot the game at two. Parker Brown was credited with the goal, his second of the season, at 6:15 of the third.
No more bounces would go the Ice Dogs way, and Jackson Nauss delivered the eventual game winner at 12:02 of the third period.
“We hit multiple posts, we had a goal called off, there was a lot of opportunities where we were at the net, and it just didn’t go in,” said Ice Dog Head Coach Trevor Stewart. “There was a lot of emotional moments on the bench where we thought we had one, and it didn’t go in, which was just kind of discouraging and deflating.”
Nate Reid stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced in net for the Ice Dogs. Haider made 39 saves, as the Ice Dogs peppered him throughout the evening, including a 19-6 shot advantage in the second period.
The Ice Dogs now head north licking their wounds a bit. With five points on the season, they sit five back of division leading Kenai River, who fell 3-2 to Janesville Saturday night. However Stewart is optimistic following a series split with the Magicians.
“I think what we can take away from this weekend, even though we didn’t get the result we wanted tonight, is that we’re playing better hockey than we were the past two weeks,” Stewart said.
The two-week home stand will allow the team to get settled into the Big Dipper, and play in front of its home fans. However, Stewart doesn’t want his players resting on the comforts of home.
“Yes it will be nice for us to get a routine down, but you can’t just rely on the Big Dipper bringing you success,” Stewart said. “We need to take advantage of home ice better than we did last year.”
Tickets for home opening weekend are available at Play it Again Sports, Gene’s Chrysler, Fairbanks Community Museum, Ft. Wainwright ASYMCA, Eielson Community Center, the Ice Dogs office, and as always online at fairbanksicedogs.com.