FAIRBANKS-One could argue that Saturday's game two in the Midwest division finals was a must win for the Ice Dogs 0-2 in any series doesn't look to good. Fairbanks played like it was a game five or game seven Saturday night in the Big Dipper. They were shut out by the Wenatchee Wild 4-0 on Friday night.
Colton Wolter stopped that scoreless streak scoring backhand style for the first goal of game two with the assists from Nick Hinz and Ross Olsson.
The Wild bounced back with two quick goals shortly after Wolter's. David Powlowski tied the game with a power play goal at the 6:41 mark and just a minute and a half later Brendan Harris gave Wenatchee a 2-1 lead.
The Ice Dogs were not rattled as Jacob Hetz tied the game with a power play lamp lighter to tie the game at 2-2 to end the four goal first period.
Fairbanks controlled the second period as defenseman Wyatt Ege gave Fairbanks a 3-2 lead less than 5 minutes into the second stanza. Then fellow defenseman Hinz scored as well with 3 and half left in the second period giving the Ice Dogs a 4-2 advantage.
Kevin Aldridge did the rest with 18 saves and shut the door in the third period for Fairbanks. Chad Perry did the same for Wentachee with a 27 save night but the damage was done. Hetz and Hinz led Fairbanks with goal and a helper each.
"It was perfect because they thought they had the momentum going and then it was perfect to kind of get that 2-2 goal. The advantage just really kept the team going there," Hetz said.
Wenatchee head coach Bliss Littler saw something from Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart that indicated to him that the Ice Dogs were going to play a lot differently in game two.
"I saw on the energy on Coach Stewart's face this morning. He was out here getting a work out in. You know what they played with more energy than we did tonight. They played with more want than we did," Littler said.
"You don't want to be a person who doesn't work hard. That's not a good reputation to have in the hockey world. So our guys are pretty prideful and know that they're going to have a battle on Monday and they're going have to come out and work hard," Ice Dogs assistant coach Paul Kirtland said.
The Ice Dogs tie the division finals 1-1 with the 4-2 win. A critical game three is tonight in the Big Dipper before the series goes to Wentachee, Wash. for games four and five (if needed).