FAIRBANKS- It’s Hockey Week in Fairbanks, nine days dedicated to the keystone sport of Alaska’s second largest city. The Fairbanks Ice Dogs were idle last weekend, but are back in action this Friday and Saturday, taking on the North East Generals at the Big Dipper Ice Arena, puck drops at 7:30 both nights. In the meantime, the Dogs have spent the week in the community celebrating HWIF.
On Sunday we spent the afternoon on the outdoor pond, with Skate the Lake, a Hockey Week tradition. Fresh snow in the air, a fire to warm up and a good time connecting with the community.
Throughout the week, the team has taken it indoors for the read in schools program of Hockey Week. The boys spent time at Joy Elementary on Monday, with visits to Fairhill Christian and the Fairbanks Montessori School on Tuesday.
The Dogs have a stranglehold on the NAHL Midwest Division. Coming into the weekend, and have locked up home ice in the first round of the Robertson Cup Playoffs. The Dogs’ magic number to clinch the Midwest Division is four. Any combination of Ice Dog wins and Chippewa losses to equal four, and the Dogs claim the regular season Midwest title (OT/SO wins/losses excluded, I’m not smart enough to figure that out). The fading Kenai River Brown Bears are battling Chippewa for the number two spot, while the Minnesota Magicians and the Janesville Jets are dueling for the fourth an final Midwest Division playoff bid. Though they are hanging by a thread, the Springfield Jr. Blues remain alive for a playoff birth.
Matt Koethe and Oliver Kjaer lead the Ice Dogs and are tied for 15th on the NAHL scoring list with 50 points. Mattias Sholl continues to lead the league with 28 wins, while ranking 8th in both goals against average (2.01) and save percentage (.923).