BLAINE, MINNESOTA- The Fairbanks Ice Dogs open North American Hockey league play Wednesday at the league’s Showcase Tournament. The 17th annual Showcase takes place between September 18-22, at the Super Rink in Blaine. All 26 NAHL teams will play between three and four regular-season games, with the Dogs slated for four tilts.
The Dogs open with a matchup against the New Jersey Titans at 11 a.m. (CT) on Wednesday, before taking on the Maryland Black Bears at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. It’s a rematch of the 2019 Robertson Cup championship game, as the Dogs look for some revenge over the Aberdeen Wings at 2 p.m. on Friday. The Ice Dogs close out play in the Showcase against the Bismarck Bobcats at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“We face four quality opponents this week,” said Ice Dogs Head Coach Trevor Stewart. “We’ll learn more about ourselves through each game, and will look to build upon the foundation we set in training camp.”
The Dogs skated to a 5-1 exhibition win over the St. Cloud Blizzard on Saturday, and participated in a controlled scrimmage with the Blizzard on Sunday, prior to returning to the Twin Cities.
Loaded with 15 forwards, 9 defensemen and a pair of goalies, the Dogs return 11 veterans and welcome 15 rookies to the squad. Elder statesman Jack Johnston returns for his third season with the Dogs. The forward has appeared in 124 games, scoring 77 points off 32 goals and 45 assists for Fairbanks. Parker Brown is back as the top returning scorer for the Dogs after notching 41 points (15,26) as a rookie. Other key returning forwards include Luke Ciolli, Matt Koethe and Fairbanks native Tyler DeWeese.
The Ice Dog blue line returns four defensemen, including bruisers Lucas Erickson and Trenton Woods (Fairbanks, AK). The silky smooth Dylan Abbott (Wasilla, AK) is back, as is the scrappy Andrew Garby.
Mattias Sholl will once again man the paint for the Ice Dogs. The goaltender out of Hermosa Beach, CA was outstanding as a rookie, leading the Dogs to the brink of Robertson Cup glory. Sholl most recently represented the NAHL in Russia at the 2019 Sirius Junior Club World Cup. Fairbanks native Austin Ryman will back up Sholl in net.
The Ice Dogs will remain in the Lower 48 for two weeks, with stops in Janesville and Richfield (Magicians) following the Showcase. The Dogs host the Minnesota Magicians for the home opener Oct. 11 at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.