Ice Dogs drop home opener in shootouts
In a sold out arena, the 2019-20 Fairbanks Ice Dogs took the Big Dipper ice for the first time Friday night.
It did not take long for the 'Dogs to give the crowd something to cheer about. Just over three minutes into the game, two-year veteran Luke Ciolli got loose and lit the lamp for his second goal of the young season.
That is about as much as the Ice Dogs could find on offense, as they not able create much of an attack the rest of the game, ultimately dropping the contest to Minnesota 2-1 in shootouts. A Magicians goal early in the second period knotted it at 1, and after 60 minutes, plus overtime, we were on to shootouts.
Minnesota struck in the first round, but Fairbanks' Jack Johnston answered when his number was called, evening the shootout score at one. That is when it became a showdown between the two net minders; Mattias Sholl of the Ice Dogs and Samuel Vyletelka of the Magicians. Denying shots left and right, the shootout ended up going 12 rounds, before Minnesota finally found the back of the net and the Ice Dogs could not answer, but the Ice Dogs do pick up a point in the standings.
"The Magicians were the better team tonight, they deserved to win, everybody that was here could see that right at the drop of the puck," Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said after the loss. "Our guys didn't have any energy. We didn't show a lot of leadership, we couldn't make two good plays in a row. It was a pretty disappointing effort for us as a coaching staff to prepare our team."
Sholl was a bright spot for the Ice Dogs, collecting 31 saves and doing his part in the shootout, helping it reach 12 rounds.
"He was good. I don't think our players did a good job of boxing out. We gave them second and third chance opportunities and he was there, square to the puck," Stewart added. "Obviously the shootout, whatever it went, 13 rounds, you expect our guys are going to help him out, which we didn't in that situation."
The Ice Dogs will get another crack at it on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.