Ice Dogs Split Weekend Series with Jr. Blues
Remain tied in first in Midwest Division
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Heading into last weekend, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs were tied in first place with the Springfield Jr. Blues, and had ample opportunity to take sole control of the NAHL’s Midwest Division.
Friday night saw a scoreless first period, but it didn’t take long for the scoreless game to be broken in the second period. Springfield’s Carson Jones scored his fifth of the season, giving the Jr. Blues the first goal of the game. Fairbanks forward, Tyler Stewart, would head to the penalty box for a roughing minor, and halfway through the penalty kill, Connor Smith found the back of the net for the powerplay goal.
Less than a minute remaining in the second period, down two, captain, Jack Ring would corral a loose pass from Owen Neuharth’s wrap-around move, going above the blocker to cut the Jr. Blues lead in half just before the second intermission.
In the third, Springfield’s leading scorer, Leo Bacallao, scored an unassisted goal just before midway through the period. Thirty-four seconds later, Fairbanks own, Nick Ostbloom continued to keep the pressure on the Jr. Blues who held the 3-2 lead. Bacallao would add an empty net goal, his second of the game, and that would be all in Friday night’s 4-2 loss for the Ice Dogs. That gave Springfield possession of the Division heading into Saturday... temporarily.
Going into Saturday, the Ice Dogs had lost three consecutive Saturday, home games. Their last home win on a Saturday night dated back to October 2nd against Kenai River. The Ice Dogs also went into Saturday’s game on a three-game losing streak.
There was no scoreless first period in Saturday’s tilt. In fact, it only took 76 seconds for Minneapolis native, Jake Hale, to open the scoring for the Ice Dogs. Fairbanks now holding their first lead of the weekend. Jonathan Panisa would even the game at one for Springfield. Right before the first ended, Tyler Stewart scored on the powerplay, regaining the Ice Dogs lead.
The two teams continued to exchange scoring, as Hayden Riva knotted up the game at two. Fairbanks had decided they had enough, and proceeded to score three unanswered goals before the period could expire. Those three goals coming from Jack Ring, Tyler Stewart’s second, and Alexander Malinowski. The Ice Dogs would possess a three goal lead entering the second intermission, 5-2.
The three goal lead would hold for the Ice Dogs without issue. Zach Bade scored for for Springfield early in the third, but Billy Renfrew would add a beautiful deflection goal for extra padded insurance on their lead, and the Ice Dogs would double their opponent in goals scored, splitting the series with the Jr. Blues, 6-3.
“It’s amazing. It just feels good to have the fans back on our side,” said Jack Ring after their 6-3 win. “They (the fans) are very loyal and they stick with us, but for them to be back here tonight after three consecutive losses, means a lot,” Ring added.
Up next for the Ice Dogs, their contention for the Club 49 Cup continues with four consecutive games against the newest team in the NAHL, the Anchorage Wolverines. The next two games will be in Anchorage, and the other two will take place in Fairbanks.
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