Posted: Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:07 pm
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs, for the second straight week, moved within a point of first place in the North American Hockey League’s Midwest Division.
Their leap was boosted by a 6-5 shootout victory over the Coulee Region Chill in Thursday night’s opener of a three-game divisional series at the Green Island Ice Arena in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
“We knew they (Coulee Region) had been playing good and we knew that we had to work for everything that we were expected to earn,’’ Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said by cellphone. “There were a lot of mental lapses but during the course of the game, we found a way to get two points (in the standings for a win).”
Stewart stressed that there’s no standings watching by the Ice Dogs, who are 6-6-1 record for 13 points, one back of the Midwest-leading Minnesota Wilderness, who won 3-0 over the Minnesota Magicians on Thursday.
“For the most part, we don’t look at or talk about the standings and where we sit,’’ Stewart said. “We need to get better and there’s still some things we need to clean up as a team before we talk about the standings.”
First-year Ice Dog Caleb Schroer scored the game-winner in the eight-round shootout. The Chill’s Dominik Florian provided the first tally and Fairbanks veteran forward Chandler Madry tied it at 1.
“He (Schroer) came in at full speed on the right side, took the puck to his forehand, moved it to his backhand and lifted it over the goalie’s pads,’’ Stewart said .
Chill goaltender Adam Carlson denied six Ice Dogs in the shootout — Jacob Hetz, Hans Gorowsky, Todd Burgess Ethan Somoza, Lonnie Clary and Ryner Gorowsky. Ice Dogs netminder Patrick Munson turned away seven Chill (Garrett Riebling, Adam Lovick, Joe Rutkowski, Richard Zehnal, Ondrej Zehnal, Brogan Rafferty and Griff Jeszka).
Munson notched 19 saves and Carlson recorded 32 for the Chill, who moved to 5-2-2 for a third-place tie with the Magicians.
Veteran forward Burgess distributed three assists for Fairbanks in regulation play in his first game this season following an injury.
“He looked good in his first game back,’’ Stewart said. “You could tell that he was not in the best of shape, but for most part, his habits are still good and he was able to contribute a little bit to help us get two points.”
Chill defenseman Sean Lang made it 5-5 and forced overtime by scoring on an extra-attacker goal with 23 seconds left in the third period. Somoza, with an assist from John Teets, had given the Ice Dogs a 5-4 lead at 3:43 into the third.
Clary, Madry, Hetz and Jakob Stridsberg scored during the first two periods for Fairbanks. Besides Burgess’ three helpers, the Ice Dogs got assists from Hetz, Adam Anderson, and Madry.
Lovick had three assists, including on Lang’s game-tying shot, for the Chill, who got their other goals from Florian, Rafferty, Eddie Matsushima and Richard Zehnal. Lang also had an assist, along with Jack Sorenson and Richard Zehnal.
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