Fairbanks, AK. – For the second straight night, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs were able to keep the high-powered offense of the Wenatchee Wild in check, defeating the Wild 3-1, in front of 2,242 at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Noah Nelson (Oconomowoc, Wisconsin) banged home a loose puck for an unassisted goal at 17:26 of the opening period. His 4th goal of the season staked Wenatchee to a 1-0 lead after one.
Zack Rall tied the game at 1-1, assisted by Colton Wolter and Jayson Angus at 11:05 of the second period on a one-timer of a pass out of the corner. Lonnie Clary then scored on a shorthanded breakaway moments later from Max Birkinbine and Rall at 12:21, putting the Ice Dogs on top 2-1, heading into the third period.
Nick Schmit (Fargo, North Dakota) held his team in game with solid goaltending in the third period, but a late goal on a rebound by Kyle Lee, assisted by Garret Clemment at 18:12 sealed the victory for Fairbanks, by the same 3-1 score as the night before.
The Ice Dogs outshot the Wild 23 to 18 on the night. Schmit had 20 saves for Wenatchee, while the Ice Dogs’ Steve Perry had 17 stops. Both teams were blanked on the power play, the Wild in 3 tries, Fairbanks in 4. “I thought we played pretty well” said Wenatchee Head Coach Bliss Littler. “We had a little adversity, (Fairbanks) knocked a stick away left side D, we thought it was a broken stick, it was a mistake, nonetheless it goes in the net, we didn’t handle that adversity very well.” On Clary’s shorthanded goal, Littler said “(We) turned the puck over on the power play, breakaway, 2-1. Pretty even hockey game other than that, got to get more bodies to the net and find out how tough we are tomorrow night.”
Wenatchee’s record moves to 36-10-6 on the season, the Ice Dogs improve to 35-14-3, drawing Fairbanks to within 5 points of the first place Wild in the NAHL’s West Division.
The Wild stays in the Frozen North for four more games starting tomorrow (Saturday) night at Fairbanks (8:30pm PST), before moving on to Kenai River for three games (8:05pm PDT on March 14th, 8:30pm PDT on Friday and Saturday, March 15th and 16th) next week. The Wild will then close out the regular season with a four-game home-and-home series versus Fresno, with games in Wenatchee on Friday and Saturday, March 22nd and 23rd (7:05pm PDT both nights), then in Fresno on Friday and Saturday, March 29th and 30th (7:35pm PDT both nights). Individual and group game tickets for all remaining home games are on sale now. Call 509.888.PUCK (7825).