SOLDOTNA, AK-It was important for the best players of the Ice Dogs to play like it. Tonight those players showed up in a win or go home scenario. The game took over three hours to complete and in the end the Ice Dogs won 6-5 in overtime.
Earlier this week Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart believed that his team was in good shape because his best players hadn't played their best yet. After losing on Friday night 2-1 to the Brown Bears in game three, this game four forced them to. One team was looking to move in the playoffs and the other didn't want to go home for the season. Both teams' offenses were major factors in this game.
So far in this series the losing team only scored one goal. At the end of the first period the Ice Dogs had a daunting 3-0 lead. Zack Rall opened the scorefest just two minutes into the game with a goal assisted by Taylor Munson and Nick Hinz. Seven minutes later Jayson Angus made it 2-0 Fairbanks. Then at the 12:02 mark of the first the Ice Dogs' lead grew with a goal slapped in by Max Birkinbine. The Ice Dogs finally figured out Kenai goalie Marcus Zelzer scoring more goals in this first period than they did in games two and three. Despite nice cushion of goals the Brown Bears outshot Fairbaks 16-14 by the end of the period.
In the second period made their run outscoring the Ice Dogs 2-1. Zac Lazzaro got a puck past Steve Perry to get Kenai on the board. Lazarro's goal occured just 31 seconds into the period almost a foreshadowing of how much time was left for things to get interesting. The Ice Dogs, however, would answer. A little over two minutes elaspsed until Lawrence Cornellier got in the scoring mix for Fairbanks. Cornellier's goal gave the Ice Dogs another three goal lead at 4-1 thanks to assists from Angus and Birkinbine. But before the second period ended Kenai's Bard Duwe made it a two goal game with his unassisted goal at the 13:35 mark of the second period. Still 4-2 Fairbanks but not for long.
Duwe's goal sparked a furious Kenai run. The Brown Bears made their rally in the final period. Within the first five minutes of the third period the Brown Bears scored two quick goals. At the 2:22 mark Mikhail Bushinski scored off an assist from game three's hero Jacob Davidson. Shortly after that Duwe struck again to tie the game 4-4 at the 4:33 mark of the period. The run continues as Kenai takes the lead, their first of the game, on a goal by who else, Zac Lazzaro. Ryan Walker and Duwe assisted on the critical play with just under eight minutes left in the game.
The Ice Dogs regrouped and got it done. Munson's game tying goal was clutch. Off the assist from Garret Clemment and Angus, Munson tied the game 5-5 leaving just leaving 1:36 in regulation. Neither team was able to put one in net and we go to overtime. Clemment arguably one of the best goal scorers for Fairbanks scored the game winning overtime goal 4:09 into the extra session sending the series back to the Big Dipper for a winner take all game five.
For Fairbanks Angus and Clemment finished with three points-two assists and a goal to lead the Ice Dogs. Birkinbine, Cornellier, Munson, Rall all had a goal and an assist. Doug Rose's assist was on the game winner to Clemment. Hinz and Devin Loe had an assist as well for Fairbanks. Goalie Steve Perry made 31 saves on the 36 shots he faced. Zelzer was 25 for 31 on saves.
The specialty was key in this game. 12 penalites were called and Fairbanks was 2-7 on the power play while Kenai was an efficient 3-5. The Brown Bears outshot the Ice Dogs 36-31.
Now the do or die game five will be this Monday night at 7 pm in the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
The winner of this series will get the winner of the Wenatchee/Fresno series who will have their game five finale Sunday night.