FAIRBANKS-The Fairbanks Ice Dogs showed why they've been the best team in the NAHL all season on Saturday night. They put on a dominate performance in front of their home crowd in the biggest game of the year. 6-2 was the final score of game two and after the Ice Dogs won game one in dramatic fashion in overtime the night before the Ice Dogs hoisted the Robertson Cup.
The Austin Bruins, however, wanted to prove that Friday night's overtime loss in game one was a thing of the past. Jay Dickman scored the first goal of the game 7:32 into regulation cashing in on a power play opportunity for the Bruins.
Viktor Liljegren would match the score at the 15:38 mark for Fairbanks with a power play equalizer of his own. Wyatt Ege and Duggie Lagrone assisted on the play and it was 1-1 going into the second period.
The Ice Dogs would feed off the tying goal and went on run that overwhelmed the Bruins. Fairbanks would get three unanswered goals in the second period. They did the same thing in game one.
Local product Colton Wolter got things going at the 4:40 mark of the second period. Nick Lehr made an outstanding diving save for the Bruins denying Hans Gorowsky who was wide open on the weak side. But after a quick recycle that got Lehr moving Wolter put in a a clean rebound off a Doug Rose miss.
Then four minutes later Gorowsky found Liljegren in the slot and fed him a pass from the top of the left circle. Liljegren had his first shot bounce right back to him and he put the second on in net for his second goal of the game.
Bruins bench boss Jamie Huffman lost his cool and may have tried to fire his team up. He protested a call from the refs and was incensed with anger. The refs ejected him from the game but that resulted in a power play for the Ice Dogs. Defenseman Duggie Lagrone got in on the scoring after a Brett Gervais pass set him up for high shot glove side on Lehr that hit net. Lagrone's power play goal at the 13:17 mark made it 4-1 Ice Dogs going into the second intermission.
Fairbanks wasted no time in the third period and continued to roll. Austin turned the puck over in the neutral zone and had a breakaway opportunity. He faked Lehr out with a nice deke and put in puck in stickside to increase the Ice Dog lead to 5-1 with 16:40 left in the game. That goal capped a 5-0 run for the Ice Dogs that featured a goal in each period
That goal was the demoralizer. The Bruins would score again with five minutes left on a Niko Hildebrand tally but Jacob Hetz answered with an empty net lamp lighter with 1:46 remaining.
Fairbanks wins the game two of the Robertson Cup Championship Series 6-2 and sweeps the Bruins for the national title.
Fairbanks goalie Kevin Aldridge made his presence felt with 19 saves on 21 shots which including a shutout second period. Lehr saw 27 shots and stopped 22. The Ice Dogs had 28-21 shots on goal advantage.
Five players had at least two points for the Ice Dogs. Hetz led all skaters with three points (goal, two assists). Lagrone had a goal and assist. Liljegren and Wolter had two goals a-piece while Gorowsky added two helpers.
Fans, players, coaches and Ice Dogs were elated as the final ticked off the clock and the Big Dipper was filled with celebration.
Aldridge was named the Easton Robertson Cup Series MVP.
The Ice Dogs are on top of the NAHL once again with their second Robertson Cup Championship. They won it all in 2011.
It was fitting end to a remarkable season from the junior tier II hockey program. The Ice Dogs finished the regular season 45-14-1 to win the President's Cup for best record in the NAHL. That NAHL regular season title secured home ice throughout the playoffs. They won the Midwest division regular season and playoff titles as well as the ERA Cup over in-state rival Kenai River. Fairbanks won two do or die game fives in overtime to get into the Robertson Cup Semifinals as well.
The team won the NAHL Organization of the Year Award, Rob Proffitt won his fourth consecutive NAHL GM of the Year Award and head coach Trevor Stewart won the NAHL Coach of the Year Award in his third year. When the Ice Dogs won the Cup in 2011 it was also head coach Josh Hauge's third season.