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Ice Dogs on the brink of West title after win over Alaska

March 23, 2012

Kenai River's Marek Hemsky celebrates a goal in Thursday night's 7-2 win over Dawson Creek (photo by M. Scott Moon/Peninsula Clarion).

Alaska 3 @ Fairbanks 4 - The Fairbanks Ice Dogs held on for a 4-3 victory in the opener of the three-game series against the Alaska Avalanche at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.  Fairbanks moved one win closer to the division title. The league’s respective top two-scorers, Gabe Levin and JT Osborn, had two points apiece and goaltender Alex Fons recorded 15 saves to lead the Ice Dogs Thursday before 1,759 spectators.  Levin made enjoyable for Fairbanks for the first 4 minutes of the third period to break a 2-all deadlock.  Osborn crossed the puck to Levin in the right circle and the center one-timed it past the stick-side shoulder of Alaska goaltender Bodhi Engum (27 saves) at 1:23 into the third. Osborn and Rudy Sulmonte drove to the net to set up Levin, who worked through a scramble to knock in a rebound from the left edge of the crease at the 3:55 mark.  The third-place and playoff-bound Avalanche (31-18-4) showed at 10:50 of the third that they weren’t going away quietly. Codey Hansen, with Tanner Fahlstedt’s assist, fell atthe top of the slot but managed to get his shot through a screen and Fons’ pads.  The Ice Dogs trailed 1-0 in a penalty-free first period.  The Ice Dogsmsaw the Avalanche score on a 2-on-1 at 18:18 into the period, as Jordan Watt collected the first of Gage Christianson’s two assists Thursday and drilled a shot in off of the crossbar. Mitch Kontny also helped on the play. The ice Dogs rallied for a 2-1 lead in a span of 48 seconds early in the second before the Avalanche evened the score during the series’ first power play.  Garrett Clement bolted to the front of the crease to tap in Tayler Munson’s shot from the right circle to make it 1-1 at 1:27 into the second. Rose provided the initial assist.  Birkinbine, at 2:15, lined a pass from the left to circle Pavlo Padakin and the left wing motored in from the right circle to slip the puck in around Engum’s stick-side skate.  Avalanche forward Evan Janssen flipped Wehebe Darge’s rebound over the glove-side skate of a prone Fons at 4:35 for the tying goal. Christianson also aided the play and Darge finished the night with two assists. Boxscore

Dawson Creek 2 @ Kenai River 7 -  The Kenai River Brown Bears were able to cruise to a 7-2 win over the Dawson Creek Rage on Thursday night at the Soldotna Sports Center.  Chris Blessing had two goals and an assist to lead the team while teammate Matt Thompson also had two goals. Dominic Granato, Marek Hemsky and Zac Lazzaro all had a goal apiece as well.  The scoring started early, as Dawson Creek scored just 1 minute, 1 second, into the first period as Scott Fellnermayr put the puck past Kenai goalie Austin Severson. Fellnermayr scored both goals for the Rage.  Even with the early lead, Kenai managed to come back in the first period, netting four straight to put up a comfortable lead. Matt Thompson managed to score the goal that gave Kenai the lead with 6:51 left in the period, with assists from Sean Muller and Alex Frere. Blessing would add his second goal of the game in the second period and Thompson would add his second goal in in the third period.  With the win, the Brown Bears (28-25-3) receive two points and are now only one point behind Fresno in the North American Hockey League West Division standings. Boxscore

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