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Ice Dogs sweep Brown Bears

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs completed a two-game sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks with a 3-2 North American Hockey League victory Saturday.

The Ice Dogs move to 22-11-3-0, suddenly five points clear of the Minnesota Wilderness for first place in the Midwest Division.

The Brown Bears are 19-16-1-1 and in third in the division with 40 points. The Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets are fourth at 39, the Wisconsin Windigo are fifth at 38 and the Chippewa (Wisconsin) Steel are sixth at 36.

The Ice Dogs also had a big weekend in the Club 49 Cup. The Anchorage Wolverines still lead with 17 points, while the Ice Dogs have 13 and the Bears have seven.

Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said his team didn’t play a good first period, then penalties made it tough to get back in the game.

Fairbanks led 2-0 after the first on goals from Justin Biraben and Brady Welsch.

“I didn’t like our effort in the first period,” Shaw said. “I thought we were a day late and a dollar short on everything.”

In the second and third period, the Bears were whistled for eight penalties, while the Ice Dogs did not have any.

Fairbanks finished 2 of 8 on the power play, while the Bears were 0 for 2.

“When the game was five-on-five, I thought we had more chances and controlled play more tonight,” Shaw said. “Our Achilles’ heel was we could not stay out of the box.”

Shaw said the Bears continue to take too many penalties that are selfish and result from not working hard.

Ben Monson, assisted by Nick Stevens and Ryan Finch, made it 2-1 headed to the third period.

With 9:51 left, Billy Renfrew scored on the power play for Fairbanks.

Owen Hanson, assisted by Hunter Newhouse, scored with the extra attacker with 1:17 left, but the Bears couldn’t find the equalizer.

Kenai River outshot Fairbanks 17-9 in the final period en route to a 35-28 advantage for the game.

Kayden Hargraves had 33 saves for Fairbanks, while Nils Wallstrom saved 25 for the Bears.

Kenai River plays at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday against the Anchorage Wolverines at Ben Boeke Ice Arena in Anchorage.

Saturday

Ice Dogs 3, Brown Bears 2

Kenai River 0 1 1 —2

Fairbanks 2 0 1 —3

First period — 1. Fairbanks, Biraben (Renfrew, Recine), 0:53; 2. Fairbanks, Welsch (Conrad, Evtimov), pp, 19:44. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 6:00; Fairbanks 3 for 6:00.

Second period — 3. Kenai River, Monson (Stevens, Finch), 6:50. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 6:00.

Third period — 4. Fairbanks, Renfrew (Potter, Biraben), pp, 10:09; 5. Kenai River, Tsutsumi (Wharton, Monrean), 18:43. Penalties — Kenai River 5 for 26:00.

Shots on goal — Kenai River 7-11-17—35; Fairbanks 8-11-9—28.

Goalies — Kenai River, Wallstrom (28 shots, 25 saves); Fairbanks, Hargraves (33 shots, 31 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 2; Fairbanks 2 for 8.

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