ANCHORAGE, ALASKA- For the first time in the short history of Club 49 Cup play, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs are looking up at the Anchorage Wolverines. The teams entered a 2-game series over the weekend tied atop the Club 49 Cup standings, each with 21 points in the in-season tournament between the three Alaska-based NAHL programs. The Ice Dogs claimed a 4-3 shootout win Friday night, while the Wolverines skated to a 2-0 win on Saturday to earn 3-of-4 points from the series and a 1-point lead in the Club 49 Cup standings.
The Ice Dogs went 3/3 on the power play Friday night, with Cameron Ricotta, Jack Ring and Kevin Marx Noren finding the back of the net on the man advantage. However, the Wolverines had an answer for each, and Cameron Morris tied the game at three midway through the third period. The game remained that way through regulation and a 5-minute overtime period, so it would be decided by shootout. Brady Welsch and Alexander Malinowski buried shootout goals, while Kayden Hargraves stopped two of the three Wolverine attempts he faced to give the Dogs the 4-3 win.
Hargraves earned the nod in net for Saturday’s game and played well in stopping 31 of the 33 shots he faced. The trouble came in the offensive zone, as the Wolverines held the NAHL’s top scoring team to a goose egg in a 2-0 victory. Shane Soderwall stood on his head in net, stopping each of the 31 shots the Dogs peppered upon him, including several highlight-reel saves in the second period.
With the two points earned Friday night, combined with a Springfield split against the Minnesota Wilderness, the Ice Dogs maintain their lead in the NAHL Midwest Division by two points. The Wolverines, despite a 3-point weekend, slip the fourth in the standings, one point back of the streaking Janesville Jets. The Jets hold third place in the division with 55 points and have won 10 straight following a 4-3 overtime victory over the NAHL Central Division leading St. Cloud Norsemen on Sunday. The Wilderness and Minnesota Magicians lurk in fifth and sixth place, well within striking distance to qualify for post-season play.
The Ice Dogs are back on the road this weekend, traveling to Soldotna to continue Club 49 Cup play against the Kenai River Brown Bears. Kenai River is working its way through a tough season, and is on the brink of playoff elimination with a 12-32-3-2 record through 49 games. The Brown Bears have faded out of Club 49 Cup contention, and they are 1-7 against the Ice Dogs this season.
The Dogs return to Fairbanks for back to back home weekends, taking on Anchorage (March 18-19) and Chippewa (March 24-25).
The Ice Dogs spaghetti feed and raffle is set for April 10. Tickets remain available, and can be purchased from your favorite player, the Ice Dogs office or at the merchandise table at the remaining home games. Tickets are $100 each, with 300 tickets sold and over $14 thousand in cash winners.
ALEXANDER MALINOWSKI RANKS 2ND (T) THE NAHL WITH A 28-34-62 SCORING LINE
MALINOWSKI RANKS FIFTH IN NAHL WITH 28 GOALS
MALINOWSKI: 12 GAME POINT STREAK IN HOME GAMES
KEVIN MARX-NOREN RANKS 2ND (T) IN NAHL WITH AN 11-13-24 PP SCORING LINE
TYLER STEWART RANKS 3RD (T) IN NAHL WITH 6 GWG
STEWART: 9 GAME POINT STREAK IN HOME GAMES
ICE DOGS LEAD NAHL WITH 203 GOALS (4.06 PER GAME)