FAIRBANKS — Hard work seems to be the main focus of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs after their two-game series against the Alaska Avalanche.
Ice Dogs head coach Josh Hauge said his team didn’t put forth enough effort in Friday’s loss, and forward Alexander Jensen said it was the team’s hard work that got them the 3-1 win on Saturday.
“We followed our game plan and ran our systems,” Jensen said about the keys to pulling out the North American Hockey League victory. “It just shows that when you work hard, it will pay off.”
Jensen worked hard for the Ice Dogs, picking up two of the team’s goals.
“I was just playing my game and just skating,” the 20-year-old Denmark native said after the game.
The majority of the first period was quiet with no goals and only three penalties in the first 14 minutes, but with 5:37 remaining in the period, Jensen scored his first goal of the night.
Holding true to the weekend’s high scoring theme, Alaska’s Wehebe Darge scored 13 seconds later on a pass from forward Seth Johnson to tie the game.
The intensity picked up in the second period. Matt Millis scored at the 14:58 mark, giving Fairbanks the 2-1 advantage. The night’s first fight followed the goal, and the Ice Dogs’ John Stampohar and Alaska’s Cody Bisbing each received major penalties as a result of the scrum.
There would be six more penalties (all minor) throughout the rest of the period, and with 42 seconds remaining, Fairbanks’ defenseman Brock Carlston went down after taking an elbow to the nose. The officials cleaned up the blood Carlston left on the ice and called a premature end to the second period.
The period’s remaining 42 seconds were played when the third period would have been starting normally. No action happened in the remaining seconds, and the third period immediately followed.
Less than a minute into the final period, Jensen struck again, scoring on a Sean O’Rourke pass. The Ice Dogs’ defense was enough to hold the Avalanche scoreless in the final period, bumping Fairbanks’ record to 9-3-2 atop the NAHL and dropping Alaska to
The Ice Dogs took 29 shots against Alaska goaltender Landon Peterson, who made 26 saves. Fairbanks’ goalie Steve Perry made 37 saves on 38 shots.
Hauge was pleased with his team’s win but wasn’t dismissing their weaknesses.
“There are still certain areas that need to be better,” he said. “Systematic areas, mostly. We gave up too many scoring chances tonight.”
Jensen agrees that although his team worked hard and chalked a win, they still have to focus on what can be improved.
“This win is a little bit of momentum, yeah,” he said, “but I think we can work on our defensive zone and our skating. And we took too many penalties tonight.”
The Ice Dogs finished the night with 15 penalties totaling 33 minutes. The Avalanche spent 25 minutes in the box as a result of 11 infractions.
“We’re going to go to work on Monday,” Hauge said anticipating his team’s next practice. “I know these guys, and I know they can turn it up. If they work hard, they will find success.”