Ice Dogs practice

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs gather for a scrimmage at the Big Dipper Ice Arena. Photo courtesy of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs Hockey Club

When asked what word he’d use to sum up his team’s performance Saturday night, Fairbanks Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart didn’t need long find it: “Disappointing.”

Disappointing, frustrating, lackluster — any one of those words would’ve accurately described the 2-1 loss the Dogs suffered against the Chippewa Steel at the Big Dipper Ice Arena to fall to 8-3-0-1.

It was the first home loss of the season for Fairbanks and the mood was a frustrated one among the 2,242 fans in attendance. The mood in the Dogs’ locker room wasn’t much better.

“Even yesterday when we won I didn’t feel that we were strong or that our efforts were as strong as what I’m accustomed to seeing from our hockey club,” Stewart said. “I’m not demoralized, obviously, just a little concerned. We just seemed to be second to pucks and they found some pucks. We had our chances, but Chippewa played well and tough and that’s what we’re going to get every night in this building and we didn’t have the response tonight.”

It was an even game for the most part in the opening period as Chippewa managed seven shots on goal to the Dogs’ six. The difference was the Steel managed to get one in the back of the net as former Dog Ethan Benz scored at the 13:49 mark of the opener to give Chippewa a 1-0 lead.

The second period belonged to the Dogs as they outshot Chippewa 14-9 and managed to tie the game up at the 7:12 mark thanks to Billy Renfrew’s goal. The goal came on an assist from Jack Ring and Nolan Cunningham.

The game remained knotted up until early in the third period. The Steel took advantage of the power play after Cam Ricotta went to the penalty box for giving the Dogs too many men on the ice. 23 seconds after that, Sam Frandina scored to put the Steel up 2-1. That’s the way the game remained as the Dogs couldn’t convert another opportunity into a goal the rest of the way.

Fairbanks will remain at home this week as they host the Springfield Jr. Blues on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. each night. Stewart said the team would have to be better moving forward if they’d want to win.

“I know that we had a number of guys that didn’t play as well or as hard as they could,” he said. “We as a staff need to make some adjustments and figure out the best course of action for us to prepare for next weekend.”

Contact sports editor Hart Pisani at or 907-459-7530.

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