LEWISTON, ME The Fairbanks Ice Dogs entered their first game of 2020 in second place behind the Kenai River Brown Bears. Following a sweep of the Maine Nordiques (5-4, 7-3), the Dogs find themselves atop the Midwest Division with 51 points through 36 games and the fourth best winning percentage in the league.
Friday’s game was an up and down affair. Maine scored 3 unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead into the second intermission. However, Fairbanks scored twice in the third, with the game winner coming off the stick of Luke Ciolli, to claim the 5-4 victory.
The Dogs again found themselves down, trailing 1-0 after the first period of Saturday’s game agains the Nordiques. It was a short-lived deficit, as the Dogs struck for six goals in the second period to break open a 7-3 route.
Rookie forward Mason Plante, 19, had three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in the two wins and was a +1 on the weekend. The NAHL, on Monday named Plante the Midwest Division Top Star of the Week. Ice Dogs Head Coach Trevor Stewart is impressed with how Plante returned from holiday break.
Mason came back from break with a lot of determination. As an organization, we feel he has continuously gotten better and it is because he is intrinsically motivated. He was moving at a faster pace and thinking at a higher level,” Stewart said in the league release.
Forward Laker Aldridge earned honorable mention in star of the week balloting.
Adam Eisele saw his 5-game goal scoring streak come to an end. However, the rookie from Lake Elmo, Minnesota extended his point streak to seven games with assists in both games, including a pair on Saturday. A 3-point weekend has Matt Koethe leading the Ice Dogs’ scoring list with 34 points off 12 goals and 22 assists. Koethe and Ciolli each have four game winning goals this season, tied for second in the NAHL.
The Dogs remain in New England, traveling to Attleboro, MASS to play the Northeast Generals Friday and Saturday night. The Ice Dogs make their 2020 debut in Fairbanks on Jan. 17, when they take on the New Mexico Ice Wolves to open a 7-game home stand.