FAIRBANKS— The Fairbanks Ice Dogs held nothing back after the Kenai River Brown Bears held a 1-0 lead Friday night in the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
In terms of offensive hockey, the Ice Dogs went on a rant in the opener between the intrastate and Midwest Division rivals in the North American Hockey League.
The main tenants of the Big Dipper scored a long string of unanswered goals on the way to a 9-1 win in the third of 16 games this season in the Ravn Alaska Cup Series.
Center Chandler Madry and defenseman Adam Kleven each had three-point nights for the Midwest leaders and goaltender Patrick Munson stopped 27 of 28 to helped secure the Ice Dogs eight straight win, and third in a row of a four-week, nine-game homestand in November.
“I thought our guys played pretty hard and we definitely played well,” Ice Dogs assistant coach Paul Kirtland said. “It was not a 9-1 game, though. We got a couple of bounces that I’m sure their goalies would like back.”
Left wing Jacob Hetz, who contributed two goals Friday, agreed with Kirtland. The teams were playing evenly early in the first period, matching each other stride for stride and forecheck for forecheck before the offensive flood gates opened for Fairbanks.
“It’s always a great time to play at the Dipper,” Hetz said. “I just think we just got some lucky bounces today.”
Madry, who scored once and had two assists, said he thinks the Ice Dogs have to come out playing hard in the rematch at 7:30 tonight.
“Don’t give them anything again, I think we have to do the same thing again to be successful on back-to-back nights,’’ said Madry, who leads Ice Dogs scorers with 27 points from seven goals and 20 assists in 20 games.
“A game like this, you can look back on it and say you dominated, but there’s no excuse to play soft (tonight),’’ Madry added.
The Ice Dogs, 13-6-1 overall, poured on three goals for the second straight period and carried a 6-1 lead into the second intermission before 2,142 fans.
Hans Gorowsky tapped in a rebound at 6:34 of the second after Brown Bears starting goaltender Josh Creelman had initially stoppedKleven’s shot, the first of three assists for the first-year IceDogs defenseman.
The Ice Dogs missed on a four-minute power play but padded their lead to 5-1 with Yannick Vedel’s first of two goals, a burst to the front of the net that came courtesy of assists from Lonnie Clary and Jakob Stridsberg, the Easton NAHL Defensive Player of the Month for October.
The goal also led Kenai River’s coaches to replace Creelman with Alec Derks.
Jacob Hetz popped in his second goal of the night at 12:37 of the second and ended the Ice Dogs’ 0-for-4 power-play drought with a backhand from the left edge of the crease, aided by Madry’s second helper of the contest.
Todd Burgess continued the surge at 9:25 of the third period with an unassisted slap shot from the right circle.
Vedel, with Stridsberg’s second assist of the game, scored from the left side of the crease at 15:33 and Cayden Cahill scored shorthanded with Dalton Skelly’s helper at the 19:23 mark of the third.
The Ice Dogs snapped a 1-1 with Hetz’s goal at 18:08 of the first period and Madry’s period-ending goal through a crowd in front of the crease. Madry capitalized on Kleven’s assist as the buzzer sounded.
Kenai River, in fifth place in the Midwest at 8-10-0, played a penalty-free period and scored the game’s first goal on at power play at 5:28, as Jack Gessert took Matt Rudin’s centering pass and one-timed it in from between the crease and left circle. Joseph Kaszupski also assisted on Gessert’s team-high 12th goal and 14th point of the season.
The Ice Dogs responded at 6:39 with defenseman Robin Karlsson’s second goal of the season, a blast from the left point that was set up by Clary’s first assist of the game.
Fairbanks survived a four-minute power play but finished the game a skater short, as forward Ryner Gorowsky was assessed a double minor for checking from behind and a game ejection at 6:44 of the first.
The Brown Bears lost defenseman Quinton Wunder to similar infractions at 7:24 of the second period.
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