FAIRBANKS-Tonight's game was very similar to Friday night's 3-1 but the Ice Dogs put in some empty net insurance goals late as the Brown Bears tried to rally. Fairbanks won 5-1 in the Big Dipper to get back in the thick of things in the Midwest division.
The Ice Dogs scored first like they did on Friday night. This one was by Viktor Liljegren who found the back of the net from a helper from Tayler Munson. Munson was in a helping mood tonight.
A little over three minutes after Liljegren's score at the 4:16 mark of the opening period, Munson helped defensman Ben Campbell get a goal to extend the home team's lead to 2-0.
The Brown Bears answered with a goal by Matt Rudin late in the first to keep Kenai within reach.
So like Friday night the Ice Dogs had a 2-1 lead going into the second but instead of a scoreless period the Ice Dogs got one on special teams. Liljegren joined Munson on the assist to Colton Wolter who crashed the net found an open area to score. It was 3-1 Ice Dogs with less than three minutes left in the period.
Kevin Aldridge put together back to back stellar performances between the pipes. His play energized his defenders and vice versa. Fairbanks defenseman continually denied shots, got down on the ice to block shots and passes and got back in transition defense to thwart odd man rushes from Kenai.
The Ice Dogs got empy net goals in the last couple of minutes of the game by Munson and Hans Gorowskly for the final margin.
Munson had a four point with three assists and a goal. Aldridge made 32 saves on the 32 shots he faced.
"It's huge. I mean it's been awhile since I've been able to do that so it feels really good.
The guys were really good in front of me. They made it really easy," Aldridge said.
"We've been struggling lately and I just wanted to give a spark to my team, what every way I could," Munson said about his five point weekend in the Big Dipper.
"I was able to get pucks to the net and people were finding the back of the net tonight. Yeah I just thought I had an overall good weekend and I got to keep it going into next weekend," Munson said.
The Ice Dogs tie Kenai in points (24) but have the tiebreaker having beaten them four times this season. It also gives them a 4-0 lead in the ERA Cup series. However, Fairbanks will host Midwest division leading Wilderness of Minnesota (26) next weekend.