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How the West was won: Fairbanks sweeps Wenatchee

April 27, 2012

Ryan White, who had two goals, battles for a loose puck in Thursday's 6-3 win over Amarillo. Game 4 is Friday in Topeka.

Fairbanks 3 @ Wenatchee 1 (Fairbanks wins series, 3-0) - It’s back to the Robertson Cup Tournament for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.  The Ice Dogs defended their North American Hockey West Division title on Thursday night in Wenatchee to guarantee themselves of defending their Robertson Cup National Championship in Frisco, TX.  The Ice Dogs rolled to a 3-1 win over the Wenatchee Wild in Thursday’s Game 3 of the West Division championship series. Fairbanks, with 24 saves from goaltender Alex Fons and points from six different players, dominated the Wild in the Town Toyota Center for all but the last 51 seconds of the game.  Gabe Levin ignited the Ice Dogs Thursday with the game’s first goal at 8:31 of the opening period, aided by fellow forward Rudy Sulmonte. Rudy Sulmonte and JT Osborn did a good job of forechecking and the puck squirted free to Levin at the top of the circle as he was able to wiggle his way to the middle of the ice and placed a shot low-glove side of Greg Lewis.  It was the second goal and fourth postseason point for the Ice Dogs’ leading scorer and the NAHL’s No. 2 scorer in the regular season.  Garret Clemment, with Max Birkinbine’s help, scored shorthanded at 15:56 of the second period to stretch Fairbanks’ lead to 2-0.  Alec Hajdukovich got an assist from defenseman Nick Hinz at 15:53 into the third to assure the Ice Dogs’ return trip to the Robertson Cup Tournament. The goal was the team-high ninth playoff point (two goals and seven assists in six games) for Hajdukovich.  Wenatchee forward Trace Redmond spoiled Fons’ shutout bid, collecting defenseman Dylan Abood’s assist and scoring with 51 seconds left in the game.  Greg Lewis finished with 29 saves for Wenatchee.  The Ice Dogs opened the series last Friday with a 5-2 win over the Wild at the Big Dipper Ice Arena. Fairbanks returned to its home ice the next night to pull out a 2-1 overtime victory.  Fairbanks advanced to the West Division championship series by sweeping the Kenai River Brown Bears in three games in a divisional semifinal series.  The Ice Dogs will enter the Robertson Cup Tournament having not lost a game yet in the 2012 Robertson Cup Playoffs. Boxscore

Amarillo 3 @ Topeka 6 (Amarillo leads series, 2-1) - After falling behind 3-0 in the second period, the Topeka RoadRunners crafted an impressive comeback, scoring six unanswered goals en route to 6-3 win to force a Game 4 in the best of five series.  Topeka and Amarillo entered Thursday’s game as a combined 5-0 in the playoffs when scoring the first goal of the game, so there was a small concern when Amarillo got on the board with the first three straight goals, two from Omar Mullan and another from John Rey.  However, Topeka stormed back in a comeback reminiscent of Amarillo’s in Game 1, scoring six straight goals.   Brian Christie led the way offensively with a goal and four assists on the night, Ryan White scored twice and Trace Strahle, Chris Bond and Kyle Sharkey also scored in front of a crown of almost 4,300 in Topeka.  Peter Traber turned aside 22 shots in the win, while Mike Taffe took the loss, making 30 saves.  Boxscore

Port Huron 1 @ Kalamazoo 2 (OT) (Port Huron leads series, 2-1) - Christian George scored both goals for Kalamazoo, including the overtime winner, as he lead the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Port Huron Fighting Falcons. A quick start was what Kalamazoo desired the most going into game three, and that's exactly what they got. 2:38 into period number one George notched his first of the playoffs, and gave his team a 1-0 lead which would stand until the end of the first.  Both goalies shined in the middle frame, as Kalamazoo starter Ken MacLean posted 13 saves, while across the ice, Port Huron goalie Peter Megariotis made eight stops of his own.  With time dwindling down in the third and trailing by a goal, Port Huron drew even and forced overtime on the first of the playoffs by Sean Gammage.  In overtime, George was faced with a sharp angle off a rebound. He put the puck on goal, and it somehow escaped the clutches of Megariotis and went into the back of the net for the game winner. Boxscore

 
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