In the early going of the season, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs have had a flair for the dramatic.
For the second day in a row, that drama ended exactly the way Ice Dog fans wanted on Saturday.
The opposing Minot Minotauros managed to tie the game up in the third period to force overtime. Once there, however, Zachary Murray delivered his third goal of the night, this one the game-winner at the 2:15 mark to give Fairbanks their second consecutive overtime win, 4-3. The Dogs are now 4-1-0-1 on the season.
It was the third time this season the Dogs went to overtime, the first time being in their opening game where they ultimately lost in a shootout against the Minnesota Magicians. A day after beating the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks in OT 2-1, however, the Dogs pulled out another close win.
“We started off well,” said head coach Trevor Stewart. “We put ourself in a position where we didn’t close it out in regulation. We made some mistakes. We had some really good goaltending tonight from Tyler Krivtsov in his first junior game. The big story of the night was Zach Murray recording a hat-trick.”
The OT win concluded Fairbanks’ run in the NAHL Showcase. The Dogs went 3-1 on the trip to Blane, Minnesota.
The Dogs got on the board first with a goal from Love Bergvall at the 12:22 mark of the first period. Nick Ostbloom and Tyler Stewart came in on the assist for Bergvall.
Joe Westlund responded with a Minot goal three and a half minutes later, but Murray got his first goal of the night with 1:20 left in the opening period on an assist from Ryan Mulrenin to make it 2-1 Dogs.
Westlund scored on an unassisted goal at the 14:10 mark of the second period, but Fairbanks tied it up again with another goal by Murray with less than a minute to go in the second. Tyler Stewart and Mulrenin again came up big with the assist.
Thomas Gazich scored 1:56 into the third period to tie the game up and things ultimately went to overtime. 2:15 into the extra period, Stewart record his third assist of the night, Murray recorded his third goal of the night, and the Ice Dogs recorded their third win of the Showcase.
The Dogs will take Sunday off before heading to Janesville for a two-game series against the Jets on Friday and Saturday. Then, the Dogs finally make their return to Fairbanks where they’ll debut at home this season on Oct. 1 against Kenai River.