Ice Dogs

Jake Hale (9), Dakota Macintosh (17) and Cameron Ricotta (22) circle the ice to thank the fans at the Big Dipper Ice Arena after the Ice Dogs’ 5-2 win over Janesville on Thursday. Hart Pisani/News-Miner

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs returned to play Thursday night. While it got closer than they would’ve liked in the third period, the Dogs ended the evening with their third consecutive win.

Jake Hale scored two goals, Brendan Miles made his triumphant return and some big plays late helped lead the Ice Dogs to a 5-2 victory over the Janesville Jets at the Big Dipper Ice Arena. The third victory in a row moves Fairbanks to 12-4-0-1 on the season as they remain atop of the Midwest Division.

The Dogs will take the win, but both Hale and head coach Trevor Stewart expressed frustration after the game. The Dogs led 3-0 heading into the final period, but two goals by the Jets in the third cut their lead to just one and made it a game. Two goals after that gave Fairbanks the insurance they needed to hold on.

“Obviously it’s great to get the W,” said Hale. “We’ve struggled with closing out games late, giving teams an extra breath or fighting chance. We’re reiterating that we need to play a full sixty (minutes). We can’t just start hard, score a bunch of goals and let off the gas. We just have to keep going.”

The Dogs did their part early as Hale got them on the board at the 5:41 mark of the first on an assist from Tyler Stewart and Nick Ostbloom. The game remained 1-0 the rest of the period.

Points leader Alexander Malinowski stretched the lead to 2-0 at the 8:52 mark of the third when Miles and Billy Renfrew combined for an assist to the Swedish rookie. Just under eight minutes later, it was a 3-0 game as Hale scored yet again, this time on an assist from Stewart and Jacob Conrad.

Things got a little too close for comfort in the third as William Gustavsson scored on a power play to put the Jets on the board. Gustavsson scored again less than four minutes later to trim the Janesville deficit to one and make it a game.

The Dogs weren’t interested in keeping it a game for long as Miles showed why the University of Michigan gave him a scholarship with a goal at the 14:55 mark on an assist from Malinowski and Owen Neuharth. That made it 4-2 and gave Fairbanks breathing room before Jack Ring’s unassisted, empty-net goal put the game well out of reach with less than three minutes to go.

This weekend is a rare three-game series. The Dogs and the Jets faced off again Friday night in a game that ended after press time. They’ll play again Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.

Contact sports editor Hart Pisani at hpisani@newsminer.com or 459-7530.

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