FAIRBANKS-The Ice Dogs extended their win streak to nine games as they tightened up their defense in their 4-1 win at home against the Kenai River Brown Bears last night.
It was the Colton Wolter show in the first five minutes of the game. Less than two minutes in Wolter gave the Ice Dogs a 1-0 lead connecting on the far side of the net following a nasty wrist shot from the right circle. Wyatt Ege and Brett Gervais got the assist on that first goal. Just a few minutes later at the 14:54 mark of the first period Wolter scored on an Ice Dogs power play going top shelf on goalie Zach Quinn. Ege got his second assist on that score and Todd Burgess also got an assist.
Kenai sured up of their defense for a long stretch but eventually the Ice Dogs would break through for another goal. With 4:20 left in the second period Kyle Lee scored from the slot on three-on-one odd man rush towards the net after a Brown Bears turnover. Yannick Vedel and Ethan Somoza passed the puck quickly and with purpose and got the assist to push the Ice Dogs lead to 3-0.
However, just a few seconds later Kenai's top forward Alec Butcher scored a dirty goal in front of the Ice Dogs net after Eric Purcell's shot bounced off of Ice Dog goalie Kevin Aldridge's leg pad. That's when it got heated. Almost immediately after Butcher's goal Ice Dogs defenseman Nick Hinz took Butcher down after Butcher started to celebrate. The two tangoed in the middle of the ice and while that fight started to wind down Ice Dogs forward Jacob Hetz got into it with Purcell. All partied involved got five minute majors. Hetz and Purcell received Game Misconducts and would not see anymore action.
All of that energy between the rivals carried over for the Ice Dogs as their defense went into shutdown mode. Fairbanks held Kenai to 17 just for the entire game. Aldridge made 16 saves on the night. The Ice Dogs got 31 shots on goal against Quinn.
In the final minute Wolter scored on an empty net goal with 47 seconds remaining. That goal gave him his first career hat trick. Ege had two assists for the Ice Dogs.
The Ice Dogs have won nine consecutive games and now have a 7-0 lead in the ERA Cup series. Both teams will face off again tonight at 7:30 in the Big Dipper. The Ice Dogs are now just two points behind the Minnesota Wilderness for first place in the Midwest division.