A gallant third-period rally turned into a shootout loss for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs Saturday night at the Red Baron Arena in Marshall, Minnesota.
Trailing the Janesville Jets 2-0 in the third period, Fairbanks scored twice to send the North American Hockey League game into overtime.
After a scoreless overtime session, the Jets won the shootout 1-0 to claim a 3-2 victory.
“It was tough to lose that one because we really battled hard all night,” Ice Dogs coach Trevor Stewart said via cell phone shortly after the game. “We seem to be a little snake-bit right now as one of Janesville’s goals went in off of one of our own guy’s stick.”
The shootout left the Ice Dogs in fourth place in the NAHL Midwest Division standings, one point behind the Kenai River Brown Bears and five points behind the Jets and Minnesota Magicians, who are tied for first place with 26 points apiece.
Fairbanks’ next four games are against the Magicians. The first two games are at the Ice Dogs home-away-from-home at the Red Baron Arena in Marshall this weekend, while the final two games are March 3-4 in Richfield, Minn.
“We’ll have to regroup in a hurry with the next four games against the top team in our division,” Stewart said. “We have to do a better job of controlling our own destiny right from the start of each game.”
The Ice Dogs started strong and outshot the Jets 14-9 in the first period Saturday night, but both goaltenders stood tall and the game was scoreless after 20 minutes of play.
Janesville broke through when Charlie Schoen scored for the third time in the two-game series at 16:04 of the second period.
Janesville rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Ice Dogs 5-4 in the series opened Friday night.
The Jets went ahead 2-0 early in the third period on Cade Destafani’s 11th goal of the season.
The Ice Dogs finally got on the scoreboard at 6:53 of the third period when Nathan Butler scored his first goal of the season off assists from Tyler Stewart and Zachary Murray.
Midway through the period, the Ice Dogs tied the score when Stewart scored his third goal of the year off an assist from Butler.
That was the end of the scoring until the shootout when Janesville’s Schoen scored on the first attempt against Fairbanks goalie Ryan Keyes and the rest of the attempts by both teams went for naught.
“The positive thing is that we know we can come back when we’re down,” Stewart said. “Now we have to learn to finish the job when extra points are on the table and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Keyes was credited with 27 saves in suffering the loss. Janesville goaltender Owen Millward made 31 saves in earning the win.
Both teams went 0 for 3 on the power play.
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