The Fairbanks Ice Dogs were one of five teams to up their record to 2-0 at the four-day NAHL Showcase Tournament after their 7-1 win over the Albert Lea Thunder on Thursday at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn.
Ice Dogs head coach Josh Hauge is nothing but pleased with his team's performance through the first two contests.
“It’s early, but it’s an exciting time of the season and it’s always nice to put forth a good showing with so many scouts watching our guys,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep it going through the weekend.”
Mark Pustin recorded a hat trick and an assist for the Ice Dogs in their win over the Thunder, with Michael Juola chipping in three assists. Between the pipes, goaltender Mike Taffe made 22 saves.
“We’re obviously happy to pocket four points in our first two games, but we’re only halfway home and we have a couple of tough tests ahead of us,” said Hauge, referring to the Ice Dogs’ final two games of the Showcase against the Topeka RoadRunners and the North Iowa Outlaws. “It should be a fun finish to the tournament.”
The Traverse City North Stars also improved to 2-0 at the Showcase after doubling up the U.S. Under-17 Team, 6-3. Mike Huff put home two goals for the Stars, and Dan Radke added a goal and two assists. Goaltender Drew Strandberg stopped 16 shots.
The Wenatchee Wild stayed perfect in Blaine with a 3-1 victory over the Marquette Rangers. Adam McKenzie, Jeff Jubinville and Brandon Burrell scored for Wenatchee, and goaltender Mac Carruth turned aside 31 shots.
The St. Louis Bandits picked up their second win in as many games, downing the Owatonna Express in a shootout, 3-2. Justin Kirchhevel scored a goal in regulation and one in the shootout, with John Houston striking for the other Bandits marker. Goaltender Garrett Bartus turned back 21 shots in regulation and overtime and all four in the shootout.
North Iowa also moved to 2-0 with a 3-2 shootout win over the Motor City Metal Jackets. Markus Gander notched the only goal in the shootout, with Tony Giacin and Ryan Weston scoring in regulation for the Outlaws. Between the pipes, Trent Caspar made 26 saves in regulation and overtime and all five in the shootout.
Dajon Mingo’s shootout goal lifted the Kenai River Brown Bears to their first win of the season - a 4-3 triumph over the Alexandria Blizzard. Trace Strahle, Josh Royston and Brad Duwe tallied in regulation for Kenai, and netminder Jimmy Hamby made 24 saves in regulation and overtime and all five in the shootout.
Five different players scored for the Alaska Avalanche as it skated to a 5-4 victory over the Springfield Jr. Blues. Seth Johnson connected for the game-winning goal, and Nardo Nagtzaam added a goal and an assist. Geoff Sadjadi stopped 24 shots between the pipes.
Brian Sheehan rang up a hat trick and Adam Kuhn (three assists) and Brandon Stroud (game-winning goal, two assists) both fashioned three-points games as the Wichita Falls Wildcats bested the Alpena IceDiggers, 6-5. In goal, the Wildcats’ Phil Graveline made 37 saves.
Andrew Mueller’s overtime goal gave the Texas Tornado a 3-2 victory over the Bismarck Bobcats. Steven Behm and Scott Deur connected for the other Tornado markers, and netminder Dan Sullivan stopped 25 shots.
Topeka picked up its first win of the season with a 2-1 triumph over the Janesville Jets. Alec Hagaman netted a goal and an assist in the victory, and Evan Karambelas steered aside 21 shots.