FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks Ice Dogs couldn’t make it all the way back Thursday at the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minn.
The Ice Dogs fell behind 2-0 before finding their scoring touch and wound up on the wrong end of a 3-2 decision against the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings in the second game of the four-day junior hockey extravaganza.
Fairbanks posted a 3-0 victory in Wednesday’s Showcase opener against the Odessa Jackalopes.
Fairbanks continues play in the showcase today when it takes on the Bismarck Bobcats. The Ice Dogs’ final game in the showcase is Saturday against the Michigan Bulls.
The Ice Dogs will remain on the road for two-game series Sept. 21-22 at the Janesville Jets and Sept. 28-29 at the Springfield Jr. Blues, before returning to Fairbanks for their home opener Oct. 5 against the Wenatchee Wild.
Kalamazoo got on the scoreboard first with just 42 seconds left in the first period when Nick Kovalchik beat first-year Ice Dogs goalie Kevin Aldridge, who stopped 16 of the 18 shots that came his way Thursday evening.
Kalamazoo’s Nolan Culver made it 2-0 midway through the second period, but Fairbanks finally got on the scoreboard when Colton Wolter found the back of the net at the 17:49 mark off an assist from Jakob Romo.
The score remained 2-1 until the final minute of the game when each team scored once.
Kalamazoo’s Robbie Payne notched an empty-net goal with 44 seconds remaining.
The Ice Dogs responded with an extra attacker goal from Garret Clement with an assist to Wolter with just eight ticks left on the clock.
The Ice Dogs outshot the K-Wings 21-19. Alex Okicki stopped 20 shots to earn the win for Kalamazoo.
Neither team scored on the power play. Fairbanks was 0 for 2 and Kalamazoo was 0 for 1.
In other games involving NAHL West Division teams Thursday, the Fresno Monsters suffered a 6-1 loss to the Texas Tornado, the Kenai River Brown Bears dropped a 6-5 shootout decision to the Johnstown Tomahawks (formerly the Alaska Avalanche of Palmer) and the Wenatchee Wild notched a 5-3 win against the Amarillo Bulls.
Patrick Newell, 16, scored the Ice Dogs’ third goal in Wednesday’s 3-0 victory against the Odessa Jackalopes. The wrong player was reported on the official scoresheet on the NAHL website.
Ice Dogs hockey at NAHL Showcase, Blaine, Minn.:
• Wednesday: Fairbanks 3,
• Thursday: Kalamazoo 3, Fairbanks 2
• Today: Fairbanks vs. Bismarck
• Saturday: Fairbanks vs. Michigan
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.