FAIRBANKS – Jayson Angus didn’t get comfortable with a 3-0 lead for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Friday night in the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
The Ice Dogs center showed late in the third period that he wanted to make sure that Fairbanks came away with a victory over the Janesville Jets in the opener of the North American Hockey League weekend series.
At 15:10 of the final period, Angus intercepted a pass in the slot. He then skated to the right circle to unleash a shot that rang the left post and snuck in by the stick side of Jets goaltender Brock Kautz, sealing a 4-0 win before a turnout of 2,242.
Angus’ ninth goal of the season, set up by Devin Loe and Ryan McNeely, led to a three-point night for the 20-year-old from Pittsburgh and supported goaltender Kevin Aldridge’s first shutout of the season.
“I think Jayson Angus is the type of player that no matter where it is in the game, he’s going to play his game, Ice Dogs hockey,” Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said. “He was fortunate to get a turnover in the high slot and it was kind of a seeing-eye shot into the back of the net.”
Angus agreed with his coach.
“On that play, my linemates got in on the forecheck, made good reads and they (Jets) turned the puck over,” Angus said. “I was fortunate to be the beneficiary of it.”
“It felt good to play a game like that and get in there for all 60 minutes,” he added, “and play no different no matter what the score was.”
Colton Wolter contributed a goal and an assist in the first period to help the Ice Dogs improve their second-place record in the West Division to 24-10-1.
The Jets slipped from fifth to sixth place in the North Division at 15-17-6. Kautz registered 23 saves and reserve Austin Priebe had three for the visitors from Janesville, Wis.
Doug Rose added a first-period goal and Jakob Romo scored on a shorthanded 2-on-1 in the second period for the Ice Dogs, who finished with a 30-15 advantage in shots against a Jets team that seemed to struggle to find a rhythm offensively.
“We seemed to possess the puck a lot, we had our chances and we were fortunate to get a couple in the first period,” Stewart said. “From there, they were playing catch-up and they had to take some chances to get back into it, which allowed us more opportunities to find the back of the net.”
Aldridge faced only three shots in the first period and four in the third period. His teammates in front made sure he didn’t encounter flurries of pucks during the game.
“They were backchecking, they were forechecking. They were doing all the little things right,” said Aldridge, whose record improved to 14-5-1.
“There weren’t any turnovers that I could remember,” he added. “Our ‘D’ really did a good job shutting it down in front.”
Zack Rall, Jacob Hetz and Nick Hinz also had assists for Fairbanks, which faces Janesville again at 7:30 p.m. today.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.