FAIRBANKS-The top team in the NAHL got their first sweep of the postseason over the weekend and it came in the Robertson Cup semifinals.
It looked like it would be another grindfest with the Michigan Warriors as the first period went scoreless. But Lonnie Clary was at the right place at the right time for a rebound shot on a Fairbanks powerplay that gave the Ice Dogs a 1-0 lead with 1:47 left in the second period.
Then the Ice Dogs went into clutch mode. Colton Wolter got in transition and rushed towards the net before finding Brett Gervais with a sweet pass and Gervais hustle pays off as he scores with four seconds left in the second period giving the Ice Dogs a 2-0 lead.
It was all about the Fairbanks defense and Kevin Aldridge from there. The Ice Dogs held the Warriors to single digit shots on goal in each period while Aldridge made 21 saves.
Tayler Munson put the nail in the coffin with an empty net goal with 1:35 left in the game. The Ice Dogs shutout the Michigan Warriors 3-0. Aldridge gets his 3rd shutout of the playoffs and Fairbanks sweeps the Warriors 2-0 in the best of three series.
Lonnie Clary perfectly sums up the feeling of going to the championship series.
"It's surreal. Nothing describes it. This is probably the best feeling I've ever had playing as a hockey player. This is the best moment I've ever had in my life," Clary said.
"I think it's huge. It's great for our confidence. It was great in terms of how we rebounded after last night's win to come back and be able to duplicate and exceed our effort last night," head coach Trevor Stewart said.
Coach Stewart added,"we're just excited. We get one more week together as a group. The guys are excited. Since we're here together as a group let's try to win two more games and call ourselves national champions."
We know who the Ice Dogs will be playing and hosting for the 2014 Robertson Cup.
The no.3 seed Austin Bruins defeated the no. 2 seed Topeka Roadruners 4-3 in overtime on Sunday for their Robbie Cup berth.
This should make for a great three game championship series. Both teams split their four meetings this year and 3 games were decided by one goal.
Austin, the Central division champions, won on Oct. 25 and Dec.31, 2-1 and 4-3. Fairbanks swept the Bruins at home showing no love on Feb. 14 and 15 winning 5-4 and 4-1.