FAIRBANKS — Jacob Hetz and Chandler Madry were proof Saturday night of the sound positional play that helped the Fairbanks Ice Dogs to a sweep of their three-game North American Hockey League home series against the Fresno Monsters.
The first-year Ice Dogs were in the right places at the right time when their second-period goals snapped a 2-all deadlock and paved the way for a 5-3 victory in the series finale in a packed Big Dipper Ice Arena.
Hetz retrieved a rebound of Colton Wolter’s shot that was set up by Logan Wendling’s pass. Hetz carried the puck across the front of the crease and lifted in a backhand between Monsters goaltender Macaulay Haight and the right post at 10:12 of the second period.
“I just crashed (the net) hard and put in the backhand,” said Hetz, a forward.
Exactly 1 minute, 46 seconds later,
Madry, a right wing, bolted to the left edge of the crease to pop in a rebound of Doug Rose’s shot from the top of the slot. It was Rose’s third point of the night and Jayson Angus got his second assist of the game on the play.
“I saw Doug shoot it, so I went to the net and luckily, it landed on my tape (of his stick blade),” Madry said.
Power-play goals by Rose in the first and second periods were sandwiched between a pair of Monsters goals that made the Ice Dogs resort to sound positional play.
Gordon Wells scored shorthanded for the Monsters with the night’s first goal at 10:40 of the opening period and Ian Janco made it 2-2 at 9:26 of the second period.
“I think both of their goals were attributed to breakdowns defensively,” Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said.
“They were very aggressive and they were controlling the play for the first seven to eight minutes (of the second) period,” Stewart added. “We had that little stretch at the end where we started to control the play and started generating scoring opportunities.”
Garret Clemment planted an empty-net goal with 41 seconds left in the game to seal Saturday’s win that followed a 4-3 shootout victory Thursday and a 3-1 win Saturday.
Fresno, as it did often through the series, kept the game close, often matching the Ice Dogs in intensity.
Daniel Rosse cut Fairbanks’ lead to 4-3 at 5:22 into the third period Saturday with a shot that bounced in front of the crease and skipped past Ice Dogs netminder Steve Perry, who finished with 20 saves.
“I’m happy with our guys’ efforts, but we’ve got to find a way to get over the hump,” said Eric Ballard, Fresno’s general manager and head coach.
After Saturday’s contest that attracted 2,242 fans, both teams are getting a week off.
The Ice Dogs don’t play again until Oct. 26-27 against the Corpus Christi (Texas) Ice Rays at the Dipper.
“We’re going to take a week off and just work hard every day in practice and then be ready for a full 60 (-minute game),” Hetz said.
Saturday’s game ended a 36-day road trip for the Monsters, who are in action next on Oct. 26-27 against Bismarck (N.D.) Bobcats in Fresno, Calif.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.