The Fairbanks Ice Dogs couldn’t get anything going on Friday night in Springfield, Illinois.
The North American Hockey League Midwest Division-leading Ice Dogs had their offensive firepower silenced as the hometown Springfield Jr. Blues raced to a 5-1 victory in a showdown of the division’s top two teams.
“We started off fine and were carrying the play to them, but then we made a mistake and all of the sudden they had the puck in the back of the net,” Ice Dogs coach Trevor Stewart said via cell phone following the game. “We had some momentum for a while, but then we couldn’t get it back after they scored that first goal.”
Springfield scored single tallies in the first and second periods and built the lead to 4-0 in the third before Fairbanks scored its lone goal.
Tyler Herzberg scored the only goal the Fairbanks offense could muster at 14:58 of the third period off an assist from Dakota MacIntosh, but by that time the outcome of the game had been determined.
“Springfield is a good team and if you can’t keep any momentum going in your favor, you’re not going to have much success against them,” Stewart said.
“Individually, we have to play at a higher level than we did tonight,” Stewart added. “We have to do a better job of protecting the puck. We gave it away too many times tonight and it had a snowball effect in favor of Springfield.”
Isaac Novak led the way for Springfield, registering a hat trick by scoring the Jr. Blues final three goals. With the Blues leading 2-0, Novak scored the first two goals of the third period to give Springfield a 4-0 lead and then capped things off with the final goal of the game.
Carson Jones accounted for Springfield’s first goal of the game at 9:29 of the first period and Hagen Moe scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 14:06 of the second.
Springfield goalie Nick Addante made 25 saves on the night, while Ice Dogs goalie Kayden Hargraves recorded 30 saves. The Jr. Blues were 1 for 3 on the power play, while the Ice Dogs were 0 for 3.
The two teams played again Saturday night in Springfield.
The Ice Dogs return home to host the Kenai River Brown Bears on Jan. 14 and 15 at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.