Carson Triggs did it again.
Triggs scored the game-winner in overtime to defeat the Fairbanks Ice Dogs 4-3 on Saturday night in North American Hockey League play at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks.
Feb. 18 at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex, Triggs also had the game-winner in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Ice Dogs.
“Carson Triggs scores big-time goals,” Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said of the forward, who also scored in the third to tie the game. “He deserves credit.”
The game-winner was unassisted. Shaw said Triggs got the puck at center ice and shielded off a defender, getting a step. He then went and beat goalie Kayden Hargraves.
Triggs’ goal gave the Brown Bears a two-game sweep of the Ice Dogs. It was only the second time in their 16-year history that the Brown Bears recorded a sweep in Fairbanks. The last time was Jan. 14, 15 and 16, 2010.
“It’s a hard place to play,” Shaw said. “There’s maybe a little bit of an intimidation factor.
“For our guys to be a part of that environment, just stick their heads in there and kind of go for it is huge after last night. We fought through a lot of adversity tonight.”
Kenai River came from a goal behind three times to claim a crucial victory in the race to make the playoffs.
At 27-22-2-1, Kenai River holds the fourth and final playoff spot in the Midwest Division with 57 points. Chasing the Brown Bears are the Chippewa (Wisconsin) Steel with 54, and the Anchorage Wolverines and Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets with 53.
Ahead of Kenai River is Fairbanks (26-20-6-0) with 58, the Minnesota Wilderness with 63 and the Wisconsin Windigo with 65.
By improving to 3-3-0-2 this season against Fairbanks, Kenai River moved the Club 49 Cup standings to 28 for Anchorage, 23 for Fairbanks and 14 for Kenai River.
Colin Goff scored just 25 seconds into the game for Fairbanks against Kenai River goalie Bryant Marks, who was coming off an injury and making his first appearance since Dec. 31.
A little over four minutes later, Bryce Monrean, assisted by Jack Anderson, had it tied at 1. Tyler Herzberg then scored on the power play for Fairbanks with 4:28 left in the first.
Marks made 10 saves on 12 shots. After the first period, Shaw switched to Nils Wallstrom and he closed with 21 saves on 22 shots. Hargraves stopped 26 for Fairbanks.
“Nils is playing really well right now and trying to find time for Marks is hard,” Shaw said. “Marks hasn’t played in a while and the way the period went we did what we had to do. It happened to work out tonight.
“We’ll look to get back to work with both goalies.”
Shaw gave Marks credit for coming back from the long break in such a tough environment.
Noah Holt, assisted by Luke Anderson, tied the game at 2 headed to the final period.
With 11:09 left, Julian Recine scored to put Fairbanks in front again.
With 6:56 left, Luke Anderson got a pass from Ashton Christman and put it on net. Triggs tipped it in to tie the game.
“To push when we were down a goal again on the road on a Saturday night in Fairbanks, Alaska, shows the group is resilient,” Shaw said.
Kenai River has next weekend off before hosting the Ice Dogs on March 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
Brown Bears 4, Ice Dogs 3
Kenai River 1 1 1 1 —4
Fairbanks 2 0 1 0 —3
First period — 1. Fairbanks, Goff (Dvorak, Altergott), 0:25; 2. Kenai River, Monrean (J. Anderson), 4:41; 3. Fairbanks, Herzberg (Pendo, Gadowsky), pp, 15:32. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Fairbanks 2 for 4:00.
Second period — 4. Kenai River, Holt (L. Anderson), 6:05. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Third period — 5. Fairbanks, Recine (Herzberg, Ricotta), 8:51; 6. Kenai River, Triggs (L. Anderson), 13:04. Penalties — none.
Overtime — 7. Kenai River, Triggs (un.), 1:44. Penalties — none.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 9-9-10-1—30; Fairbanks 12-9-12-1—34.
Goalies — Kenai River, Marks (12 shots, 10 saves), Wallstrom (22 shots, 21 saves); Fairbanks, Hargraves (30 shots, 26 saves).