FAIRBANKS—The Fairbanks Ice Dogs got a wake-up call last Saturday against the Corpus Christi Ice Rays.
After winning six of their first seven home games, the Ice Dogs ran into a swarming gang of Ice Rays and suffered a 3-1 North American Hockey League loss at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
“We just did not play well,” Ice Dogs coach Trevor Stewart said. “It was a culmination of things that all came together for a really bad game.”
The Ice Dogs will be out to turn things around tonight when they take on the Wichita Falls Wildcats at 7:30 tonight and Saturday at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
“We’re banged up a little bit, but we’re excited to get back on the ice after not faring so well last weekend,” Stewart said.
The Ice Dogs are 12-4-0 going into tonight’s game, one point behind the league-leading Wenatchee Wild in the NAHL West Division standings.
Wichita Falls, on the other hand, brings a 5-10-2 record into tonight’s contest, having lost a pair of games (9-3 and 5-2) at the Kenai River Brown Bears last weekend. The Wildcats, of Texas, are in fifth place in the South Division, two points behind Corpus Christi, also of Texas.
“Those scores aren’t an indication of what the game were like,” Stewart said. “We expect Wichita Falls to come in here and compete hard, just like every other team we face.
“They have a good hockey team, they are well-coached and they have a lot of young talent,” Stewart added. “It’s going to be a good weekend of hockey.”
Stewart said there a wasn’t a particular phase of the game the Ice Dogs were working on in preparation for the Wildcats.
“We have to work on keeping our competitive level up for longer stretches and there’s a few different strategy things we need to get better at,” Stewart said.
Stewart said the Ice Dogs will be without two defensemen and at least one forward for this weekend’s games due to injury, but he wouldn’t elaborate further than that.
Wichita Falls, which has six players committed to NCAA Division I schools, is led by forward Kyle Bauman, who has seven goals and four assists for 11 points in 17 games.
Evan Cowley is the Wildcats main goalie with a 3-7-2 record.
Devin Loe and Kyle Lee lead the Ice Dogs with 14 points apiece. Loe has seven goals and seven assists, while Lee has lit the lamp five times and has nine helpers. Doug Rose and Garret Clement have 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Steve Perry is 8-3-0 between the pipes for the Ice Dogs, while Kevin Aldridge boasts a 4-1-0 mark.
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.