FAIRBANKS, ALASKA- With the prospect of extending their losing streak to four-games, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs earned a much needed win Saturday night to salvage a home split with the Kenai River Brown Bears Saturday night. The Brown Bears claimed their first Club 49 Cup win over the Dogs with a 5-3 victory Friday night. Fairbanks bounced back, winning 8-4 in front of a rambunctious Big Dipper crowd Saturday night.
Ice Dog defenseman Nolan Cunningham opened the scoring on Friday, striking for his 5th goal of the season just over a minute into the tilt. Former Ice Dog forward Barak Braslavski tallied his 8th of the year to knot the game at one following the first period. The teams traded goals in the second period, but the third belonged to Kenai River, as the Brown Bears outscored the Dogs 3-1 to secure the 5-3 win.
Jack Ring and Cameron Ricotta each scored a pair of goals as the Dogs build a 6-2 lead through 40 minutes of play Saturday night. Alexander Malinowski and Brady Welsch added first period markers, while Marcus Lund and Jake Hale potted goals in the third for an 8-4 win. Fairbanks peppered the Brown Bear net with 42 shots in the game, chasing starter Tommy Aitken after the first period.
With the split, each team earns two points in the Club 49 Cup presented by Alaska Airlines. The Ice Dogs extend their lead to four points over the Anchorage Wolverines in the intrastate, in season, tournament that features the three Alaska-based NAHL teams. The Brown Bears are carrying the red lantern, but by no means are out of contention.
Saturday’s win allowed the Dogs to jump back into first place in the NAHL Midwest Division with a tenuous 1-point lead over the Springfield Jr. Blues. The Ice Dogs and Jr. Blues square off in a pivotal 2-game series this coming weekend in Illinois. The Wolverines occupy the third spot in the division race, while the Minnesota Wilderness hold down the fourth position in the standings. The Brown Bears remain in the Midwest Division cellar, but with 19 games remaining on the schedule are still alive for playoff consideration.
By virtue of their second place standing (win percentage) in the Midwest Division, the Ice Dogs will send three players to the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, which will be held from February 7-8, at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. Tyler Stewart joins fellow forwards Jake Hale and Jack Ring in the event designed to give uncommitted players additional exposure to college scouts. Ice Dogs bench boss Dave Allison will serve as the assistant coach for the midwest team. The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most highly scouted events in junior hockey. Hundreds of scouts attend the event annually, which features almost every NHL team and NCAA Division I school. It continues to be an important part of the NAHL event model, which includes the NAHL Showcase in September and the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship in May.
- ALEXANDER MALINOWSKI LEADS THE DOGS WITH A 19-29-48 SCORING LINE (3RD IN NAHL)
- BILLY RENFREW LEADS THE DOGS WITH 21 GOALS (TIED FOR 6TH IN NAHL)
- CAMDEN SHASBY IS TIED FOR SECOND IN NAHL WITH A +26 RATING (LEADS ALL ROOKIES)
- JACK RING: 6-GAME HOME POINT STREAK
- ICE DOGS LEAD NAHL WITH 171 GOALS (4.17 PER GAME)
- ICE DOGS LEAD NAHL IN POINT DIFFERENTIAL (+46)
- ICE DOGS’ POWER PLAY RANKS 4TH IN NAHL (24.8%)
- ICE DOGS’ PENALTY KILL RANKS 7TH IN NAHL (85%)
- ICE DOGS RANK 4TH IN SHORTHANDED GOALS (8)
The Ice Dogs return to the Big Dipper Ice Arena Feb. 17 to open a 3-game series against the Minnesota Magicians. It marks the 10th anniversary of the Stick it to Cancer series, presented by the Foundation Health Partners. The Ice Dogs will wear commemorative cancer-themed jerseys that will be auctioned during intermissions, with proceeds supporting the Circle of Hope Campaign. The series also coincides with Hockey Week in Fairbanks, which celebrates the deep history of the sport in interior Alaska.