FAIRBANKS-The Ice Dogs hard work at home continues tonight. Kevin Aldridge and the d-corps have just been outstanding in their last four. They've allowed one goal in their last four games and are riding a four game winning streak.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats are next to enter the Big Dipper this weekend. The Wildcats are second in the South division with a 13-6-3 record and are coming off a sweep over Kenai River. Goalie Chase Munroe was named NAHL Star of the Week for his 76 saves on 79 shot performance against the Brown Bears.
The Wildcats are similar to Fairbanks-they're balanced. Eight players have 10 or more points led by Kyle Bauman and Tyler Ledford with 14. Fairbanks has six players in double digits with another four that have nine points.
But the Ice Dogs boast the second ranked penalty kill in the league just under 92 percent. Wichita is no slocuh either. They have the fifth ranked penaly kill. This has the makings of another low scoring close series. Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart thinks it will come down to special teams.
"You know, I think when it comes down to it, I think the team that kinda figures out the power play portion of their game is going to have a little more success this weekend," Stewart said.
The Ice Dogs defensemen have been contributing to the offens while hanging their hats on their strong defense and hot goalie Kevin Aldridge. Their defense could be their best offense right now.
"I think that the rest of the guys feed off the good defensive zone and especially Kevin [Aldridge] appreciates it. We create offense when we can and that's how we produce," Ice Dogs defenseman Ben Campbell said.
"Making the simple plays is probably the thing we are focusing the most on right now," Ice Dogs veteran defenseman Nick Hinz said. "Moving the puck quickly, getting it off our sticks as fast as possible and getting it to our forwards and letting them do what they do with the puck."
"The big thing for us is that if we want to score goals we've got to get dirty and get to the net, and pay the price to score," Wildcats head coach Paul Baxter said. "I think, in talking with Trevor, that it's more or less the same thing with them."