Special teams, especially the penalty kill, continued to shine for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs Friday night at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
The Ice Dogs killed off eight penalties, scored a short-handed goal and had a power-play tally in routing the Springfield Junior Blues 7-1 in a North American Hockey League Midwest Division showdown in front of a capacity crowd.
It was the sixth straight win for the Ice Dogs, who improved to 13-4-0-1 on the season and improved their Midwest Division lead to six points over Kenai River Brown Bears. Springfield dropped into a fourth-place tie with the Janesville Jets in the Midwest standings.
The Ice Dogs are now a perfect 14-for-14 on the penalty kill in the first two games of the series against the Jr. Blues. The final game is set for 7:30 tonight at the Dipper.
Jack Johnston scored Fairbanks first and last goals on Friday night and five other players had goals as the Ice Dogs bolted to a 3-0 lead in the first period and never looked back. Johnston also had an assist for a three-point night.
Fairbanks native Nicholas Ostbloom scored his third goal of the season and added an assist for the home team.
Mason Plante, Bret Link, Parker Brown and Dylan Abbott also notched goals for the Ice Dogs, who have outscored Springfield 10-1 in the first two games of the series.
Adam Eisele had three assists for the Ice Dogs, while Andrew Garby, Jasper Lester, Matt Koethe, Oliver Kjaer, Luke Ciolli and Link each had one helper.
After the Ice Dogs took a 3-0 lead in the first period, the only suspense remaining was to see if goalie Mattias Sholl would be able to secure his second straight shutout.
That didn’t last long into the second period as Max Osborne scored Springfield’s lone goal at 2:04 of the second period off an assist from Hugh Quinn.
Sholl notched his sixth straight win to improve to 10-4-0-1 on the season. He finished the night with 31 saves.
The Ice Dogs registered 35 shots on goal and went 1-for-4 on the power play.
Johnston’s first goal opened the scoring at 12:22 of the first period while the Ice Dogs were shorthanded. Lester knocked the puck away from a Springfield player and Johnston picked it up inside the Jr. Blues zone and beat goalie Alex Proctor with a backhand shot from in close.
Johnston capped the scoring at 13:25 of the third period off an assist from Ostbloom.
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7586.