Tag Archives: Alaska Hockey

Ice Dogs storm back to earn split

FAIRBANKS- After losing to 5-2 to the Corpus Christi IceRays Friday night, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs again found themselves in trouble on Saturday, down 2-1 to the IceRays entering the third period.  Five goals later, the Dogs skated off the ice 6-3 victors over their guests from Texas.

Just under three minutes into the third, Luke Mobley, after winning a neutral zone draw, deposited the rebound of a Matt Koethe shot to knot the game at two.  Jake Stella put the visitors back on top four minutes later, redirecting the puck past Nate Reid for a 3-2 lead.  However, it was a lead that did not last long.

It took recently named Ice Dogs Captain Grant Ledford just 32 seconds to show why he has that “C” on his sweater.  Noah Wilson moved the puck from the end boards up to center ice, where Tanner Edwards controlled it and found Ledford on the right wing with speed.  Ledford rushed the zone and snapped a shot from the dot that beat Samuel Vyletelka high glove and tied the game at three.

“I just tried to lead by example,” Ledford said.  “We knew we had energy coming out of the second, and we just did what we needed to do.”

hockey players shaking hands
Jack Johnston and Matt Koethe celebrate after beating the Corpus Christi IceRays 6-3.

Less than two minutes later, the dogs again stretched the puck up the right wing, as Jax Murray received a Jonny Sorenson pass in neutral ice before rushing the zone.  There he found the tape of a crashing Jack Johnston, who one-timed the offering into an open net before sliding, head first, into boards with his team on top 4-3.

“I was just driving wide and he (Murray) made a nice pass that beat a couple D and I was just able to put it in,” Johnston said.  “It feels great to come out with a win and get the job done.”

Johnston’s goal proved to be the game winner, but not the last of the scoring.  Parker Brown scored two minutes later, while Ledford added his second of the night, an empty netter with just over a minute remaining in regulation.  Nate Reid stopped 27 of the 30 shots he faced.  The Dogs peppered Vyletelka with 52 shots.

With the win, the Ice Dogs earn a series split with the IceRays, and maintain their 3-point margin over Janesville for second place in the NAHL Midwest Division, six points back of division the division leading Minnesota Magicians.

“Getting points tonight (Saturday) was huge,” Ledford said. “We need to keep our heads down, work hard this week in practice and be ready to go Friday night.”

The Ice Dogs host the Topeka Pilots next weekend at the Dip, in their last home series until March 8-9.  Alaska Airlines is sponsoring the weekend series that includes the chance for someone in attendance to win a trip for two anywhere Alaska flies.

Aldridge scores twice in Ice Dog win

FAIRBANKS- Ice Dogs forward Laker Aldridge took the the Big Dipper ice Friday night sporting a haflie (half shield) for the first time in his junior hockey career.  He celebrated on his 18th birthday by scoring back to back goals in the second period, helping propel the Ice Dogs to a 5-4 win over the Chippewa Steel.

“Two rips and we’ll call it a day, I couldn’t be happier,” Aldridge said of  the second and third goals of his rookie season.   “Just helping the boys win on my birthday, it’s definitely something special, something I’ll cherish for a while.”

Aldridge’s firepower had the Dogs ahead 4-2 entering the third period.  Midway through the frame, Grant Reichenbacher took over, scoring twice, with the equalizer coming at 14:39 of the third.  A turn over in the Ice Dogs’ zone allowed Brendan Ogle to one-time a loose puck toward the net, which Reichenbacher tipped home to even the game at four.

“You could feel it on the bench, we were struggling,” said Ice Dog Head Coach Trevor Stewart.  “They didn’t really have much, other than what we gave them, so it was really deflating.”

“Our mindset was kind of down,” said defenseman John Stampohar, who had scored earlier in the game.  “I knew in the back of my mind that we’re not out of this game, and that we could easily get a goal.”

Just over two minutes later, Stampohar delivered.  Luke Ciolli drove the puck deep into the Steel zone, creating space on the right point.  From the corner, the puck found Stampohar’s tape at the blue line, and a sharp fake to center freed up more ice along the wall, while Ciolli moved to screen down low.

“I made a strong move to the wall, put a shot on net that went in top right,” Stampohar said.  “We fought our way through, and that was that.”

Group at center ice for ceremonial puck drop
Cancer survivor Larry Terch drops the ceremonial first puck on Thursday night at the Big Dipper

The 3-game Stick it to Cancer series culminates Saturday night at 7:30 at the Big Dipper.  The weekend has highlighted and honored cancer survivors in our community, while sharing stories of hope from Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and the J. Michael Carroll Cancer Center.  On the ice the action has been tight, and at time fierce.  Both Tanner Edwards and Hunter Weiss received game misconducts for head butting in the second period.  With the series knotted at a game apiece, Saturday’s tilt is sure to be intensified.

“We came into this weekend looking at it as a three game series, it’s tied 1-1 so here’s the rubber match, so there’s no excuse for us to not be prepared” Stewart said.

“It’s plain and simple, we need to win,” Stampohar added.

The Dogs are now 5-3-2 in their last 10 games, and with 45 points hold second place in the NAHL Midwest Division, six points back of the Minnesota Magicians, and three points up on the Janesville Jets. Tickets for Saturday’s game are available at Play it Again Sports, Gene’s Chrysler, Fairbanks Community Museum, Ft. Wainwright ASYMCA, Eielson Community Center, and as always online at fairbanksicedogs.com.