FAIRBANKS-The Ice Dogs are back home and will be for a little while. The Fairbanks junior hockey team will host three homes series for the next three weekends. The players and coaches are more than happy to be off the road losing 4 of their last 6 games. Those were road losses.
They could turn things around at the Big Dipper with what could be early season statement series against top division foes. In-state rival Kenai River will be in town this weekend. The Brown Bears are second in the Midwest division and had a recent seven game winning streak. They also have forward Alec Buthcer the top scorer in the league. The Ice Dogs lead the ERA cup series 2-0.
Next weekend division leader Minnesota Wilderness comes to Fairbanks.
The defense has been there for the Ice Dogs six of their seven losses on the year are by two goals or less. The offense will need to show up in this home stretch for Fairbanks but good defense can still lead to some easy offense.
"All the guys work well together, so we are just taking our guys when we have them and just trying to get everything away from the net as much as we can," veteran defenseman Doug Rose said. "Just moving the puck up to the guys that are going to bury pucks and we've got a lot of good forwards up front."
First year Ice Dog defenseman Victor Munter from Sweden, has been fitting in nicely to what could be shaping up to be one of the best defensive teams in the NAHL.
"I've heard that we have probably the best D core in the league and everyone on this team is really good," Munter said.
Trevor Stewart, the Ice Dogs head coach, addressed the needs on offense.
"We have got to score more goals. We've got to be committed to go to the net and make sure we have bodies at the net with the puck and I think that is our Achilles heel right now," Stewart said.
"It's hard to win games when you only score one or two goals. We're out possessing teams and I guess, outplaying teams but at the end of the day what matters is the result on the scoreboard."