As the Zombies once said, “It’s the time of the season.” In this case, the season is Fairbanks Ice Dogs hockey.
The Dogs are back in town tonight for the first home series of the year as they host the Kenai River Brown Bears at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. both nights.
On the ice, fans know what to expect by now. The Dogs are 5-2-0-1 and currently first in the Midwest Division while their in-state rivals are the current cellar dwellers at 1-7-0-0. Tyler Stewart has eight points in eight game for the Dogs, but they are now down their top goal scorer as Zachary Murray is no longer with the team.
Filling his space offensively is rookie Alexander Malinowski, who already has seven points with four goals this season including six points in power play situations. Stewart has proved to be clutch as he’s responsible for two game-winners in overtime. While Murray was leading the team with a +6, rookie Joe Greniuk is currently playing +4 hockey right now as well.
In the net, Kayden Hargreaves is back and currently playing with a save percentage of .924 with three wins and a 2.08 goals against average. His running mate Tyler Krivtsov has two wins, an .889 save percentage and a 2.83 goals against average. Fairbanks native Ryan Keyes is no longer with the team.
With Owen Neuharth (Colgate), Brendan Miles (Michigan) and Nick Ostbloom (UAF), the Dogs already have three players committed to play college hockey. More will join them as the year goes on.
What’s perhaps most exciting is that for the first time in 18 months, the Big Dipper Ice Arena will be wide open without restrictions. Masks are encouraged, but not required, according to general manager Rob Proffitt.
“The whole weekend is being brought to you by two sponsors,” said Proffitt. “Alaska Airlines Club 49 and Genes Chrysler.”
Friday is the inaugural game of the Alaska Airlines Club 49er Cup between Fairbanks, Kenai and Anchorage. Whomever finishes atop the standings of the Midwest Division will be declared the winner.
Genes Chrysler will have brand new vehicles in front of the Dipper for people to look at on their way to the game. Club 49 towels will be given out and there will be a giveaway of two tickets for anywhere Alaska Airlines flies.
The Coors Light four-wheeler and GCI Apple Watch giveaway will continue this year as well.
To top it off, this will be the 25th anniversary of Ice Dogs hockey at the Big Dipper Ice Arena. It all adds up to a ton of excitement heading your way.
Contact sports editor Hart Pisani at email@example.com or 459-7530.