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After Friday’s win over the Chippewa Steel, Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said he hoped Fairbanks could play the entirety of Saturday’s game with the focus they had in the beginning of Friday’s.

Saturday’s game didn’t start as well for Fairbanks, but the finish was as strong as they needed it to be.

After battling to a tie after one period, Fairbanks scored what ended up being the game-winning goal in the second period and their defense did the rest en route to a 3-2 victory over Chippewa on Saturday. Fairbanks is now 18-16-1-1 on the season with 38 points. More critically, they’re now just two points behind Janesville and Minnesota for the lead in the Midwest Division.

The Ice Dogs had to battle to get there. Things started off in the Ice Dogs’ favor as Andrew Garby scored a goal on a Zachary Murray assist just 5:51 into the game to give Fairbanks a 1-0 lead. Chippewa answered back at the 13:26 mark, however, as Ryan Waltman scored for the Steel to tie things up at 1-1.

Chippewa, currently last in the Midwest Division, managed to take the lead after that when Brockton Baker scored on a power play goal 15:10 into the game and make it 2-1 Steel. Fairbanks tied things up once again at the 17:59 mark of the opening period on Mason Plante’s goal on an assist from Jake Hale. The score read 2-2 entering the second period.

The score remained 2-2 for most of the second period before Fairbanks secured the eventual game-winner.

Plante secured his second goal of the game on an assist from Jasper Lester on a power play at the 15:18 mark of the second period to make it 3-2 Fairbanks.

Neither team scored the rest of the way as Ryan Keyes picked up 14 save on 16 attempts with the Fairbanks defense limiting Chippewa opportunities.

This week will mark the biggest test of the Ice Dogs’ season so far as they play the Magicians three times starting Thursday, continuing Friday, and concluding Saturday.

How this week goes will go a long way in determining whether Fairbanks makes the postseason.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at Hpisani@newsminer.com, 459-7530, or on Twitter @Hpisani91.