FAIRBANKS, AK-It's playoff hockey and that means goals can be as hard to manufacture as the ice the sport of hockey is played on. In tonight's game Kenai was able to score just enough and prevent the Ice Dogs from scoring late in the game for a 2-1 victory in the Big Dipper.
The game could've turned out a whole lot differently it wasn't for an Ice Dogs goal that was disallowed due to a goalie interference call. The call was made on the first line shift of the game when Lawrence Cornellier thought he scored a big goal to kick off game two in favor of Fairbanks. But the refereees concluded that Taylor Munson's skate was in the crease before the puck arrived negating the goal. That potential goal seem to hang over the game given how everything tuned out in this tight game.
Later in the first period at the 7:42 a goal was scored and this one counted. Judd Loewenstein made it 1-0 Kenai with an assist from Zac Lazarro. The Ice Dogs would get on the board officially with a power play goal that sent by Cornellier. Cornellier was parked on the left side of the post when Devin Loe smack on the puck and net then Max Birkinbine redirected to Cornellier for the equalizer.
Just like game one there would be a scoreless period. In game two it was the second period. Both teams played some great defense as shots were redirected and thwarted by defenders. If a puck did get through both goalies finished off attacks with timely saves. Kenai's Marcus Zelzer was all in making 29 saves on 30 shots. On the opposite side of the ice Steve Perry did all he could stopping 25 of 27 Brown Bear shots.
Any score in the third period would be huge for one team and a backbreaker for the other as offensive attacks and shots were highly constested by both teams' defenses. However, one goal would get through it was off the stick of Kenai's Alex Jackstadt. Jackstadt has a knack for game winners. He had 10 to lead the NAHL in the regualr season. Jackstadt's clutch play carried over in the postseason with his decisive power play goal halfway throught he final period.
Fairbanks had two great looks later in the period to tie the game. Garrett Clemment had a puck bounce off his stick and was just wide of the post and Andy Lee a wrap around chance after a rebound but his attempt was also wide. Kenai would hold for the 2-1 victory giving them lots of confidence and momentum heading back to Soldotna as they bring back their first playoff win franchise history. Before that the Ice Dogs had the Brown Bears' number sweeping them twice in their other playoff appearances.
The series is tied 1-1 with the next two games on Kenai's home ice. If the Ice Dogs pull a Kenai and split the next two games the decisive game five will be in the Big Dipper on April 22nd.
Game three will be April 19th at 7:30 in Kenai.