FAIRBANKS-The Fairbanks Ice Dogs have been relying on their defense and goaltending recently and its resulting in wins. Friday night they beat the Midwest division leader Minnesota Wilderness 2-1 in a shootout. On Saturday it was the same theme defense goaltending that got them a 2-1 win in regulation.
Chandler Madry gave Fairbanks a 1-0 lead after a Lonnie Clary and Brett Gervais helper 11 minutes into the game. The Ice Dogs came right back a little over two minutes later with a Gervais mini breakway goal after the beautiful deep pass from Ben Campbell.
Thomas Lindstrom of Minnesota made it a 2-1 game in the second period but that would it be it for scoring because the opposing goalies in this game both displayed some goal tending proweess. The third period went scoreless.
Kasimir Kaskisuou of Minnesota made 27 saves on 29 shots for the Wilderness but the Ice Dogs have a hot goalie and d-corps. Kevin Aldridge made 19 saves on 20 shots securing the 2-1 win for Fairbanks. Aldridge has allowed four goals in the last four games.
The Ice Dogs are now second in the Midwest with 28 points just four points back of the Wilderness while Kenai is at 25 points.
Campbell talked about the defensive play of late for the Ice Dogs.
"I like to take pride in our defensive zone and I think all our defensemen do. I think our whole defensive corps played pretty solid this weekend, and that's what we needed to beat a team like this," Campbell said.
He also noted the Kaskisuou is arguably the top goalie in the NAHL leading in goals allowed average, saving percentage and wins. Those numbers took a slight dent after this series with the Ice Dogs.
"We knew coming in that their goalie's on a hot streak and we didn't know how many goals we were gonna get in on him, so defense is key," Campbell said.
Head coach Trevor Stewart of the Ice Dogs saw his team when the way the needed to in a low scoring affair.
"I thought our guys battled hard. They battled very hard against us and you're not going to win every game 8-to-1. You've gotta win those games 2-to-1 and we found a way to do that twice this weekend," Stewart said.
The Ice Dogs will have another home series this weekend in a non-division series hosting the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The Wildcats are second in the South division with 29 points and are 13-6-3 on the year.