FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks Ice Dogs will renew an old rivalry this weekend when they host the Wichita Falls Wildcats in a two-game series at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
“I’m kind of excited because we haven’t seen them up here in a couple of years,” Ice Dogs general manager Rob Proffitt said Wednesday evening.
The two teams used to be bitter rivals when they both played in the North American Hockey League South Division. On two occasions, the Ice Dogs beat the Wildcats, of Texas, to advance to the South Division championship series.
“We used to have quite a rivalry with those guys,” Proffitt said. “They’ve got a good hockey club and I expect them to really get after it just like Corpus Christi did last weekend.”
Last week, the Ice Dogs (12-4-0) beat another Texas team, Corpus Christi, 5-4 in a shootout Friday night, then dropped a 3-1 decision to the Ice Rays on Saturday night.
Proffitt said he’s anxious to see how the Ice Dogs will respond to Saturday night’s setback.
“I don’t think we played very well Saturday night and I’m wondering how this young group will respond,” Proffitt said. “I think we’ll find out some things about this hockey team on Friday night.
“Every team has its peaks and valleys during the season, you just don’t want them to be too high or too low,” Proffitt added. “We hit a dip in the road, so now it’s time to strap up the boots, meet the challenge and take it head on.”
Wichita Falls brings a 5-10-2 record into the Big Dipper after losing two games at the Kenai River Brown Bears last weekend.
“They use a lot of speed and play with a lot of energy,” Proffitt said. “It should be a fun weekend.”
Taylored Restoration Services is sponsoring the Friday night game, while Miguel’s is sponsoring Saturday night’s series finale.
Proffitt said a few new between-period games have been added to his repertoire of entertainment. He also said $50 cash prizes will be given away to fans who answer trivia questions or participate in other silly games.
A postgame social with the Ice Dogs players will be held Saturday night at Miguel’s, 1235 Airport Way, Suite 1. There will be an $11 taco bar.
Ice Dogs tickets are available at Sport King, Play It Again Sports, Eielson Air Force Base, Fort Wainwright and the Fairbanks Community Museum.