FAIRBANKS, AK-With the ERA series tied at seven games between the Ice Dogs and Brown Bears-this was a must win. Not only was this a must win but this game has playoff seeding implications and a possible number one spot in the west division at stake. The rival Brown Bears did what rivals tend to do. Get in the way.- Kenai closed out a with a 4-3 win in the Big Dipper.
It was a very physical game, especially in the first period with the Ice Dogs getting after it early with some hellacious checking. About halfway through the first Devin Loe gets on a breakaway, thanks to a pass from teammate Lawrence Cornellier and Loe would break the scoreless tie with a goal.
A few minutes later Kenai would answer with Ryan Walker'a equalizer getting past Steve Perry on the high side of the left post. It's a 1-1 game going into second period.
Not even three minutes into the second period Walker strikes again making it 2-1 Kenai. Fairbanks goalie Steve Perry made up for it shutting out the Brown Bears in the period with some great glove work.
The Ice Dogs would knot it up with a t-u-f-f, tuff play from Garrett Clemment. Clemment took a hit to the mouth, was hunched over and skating slowly but stayed on the ice continued to skate and comes from behind Kenai's net, collects the loose puck and scores with a top shelf shot. That play was assisted by Doug Rose and it's two a piece going into the third.
Now in the final period at the 11:06 mark the Bears show some stick-to-it-tiveness and score off a couple of rebounds. The last put back found the net courtest Matt Seidel's stick for Kenai breaking the 2-2 tie. The Ice Dogs had been able to answer all of Kenai's goals with a score of their own but Zac Lazzaro, the thorn in Fairbanks side, scores at the 2:53 mark making it 4-2 Kenai.
The Ice Dogs, however, wouldn't quit scoring a goal with just two minutes to go as Ethan Somoza puts the puck in the net right in front of Kenai goalie Evan McCarthy. Somoza's second goal of the year brought Fairbanks within one. But the Brown Bears would hold despite being outshot 38-29 for a 4-3 win in regulation.
McCarthy made 26 of 29 saves. Perry faced 38 shots and was able to stop four.
In another west division game the Wenatchee Wild trailed the Fresno Monsters 4-2 going into the third period. The Monsters couldn't stop the Wild's surge as Wenatchee scores three unaswered goals. The first two forced overtime with the game winner coming in the extra session. The Wild win 5-4 dashing the hopes of the Ice Dogs tying or winning first place in the west division.