WENATCHEE, Wash. – For the first time in their history, the Wenatchee Wild swept a 3-game series from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. The Wild finished off the 3-game sweep Saturday when they defeated the Ice Dogs in a shootout, 4-3.
“I’m pretty proud of the boys,” said Wenatchee Wild associate head coach Tom Rudrud. “They played very hard and as a team. A lot of guys made sacrifices that showed us that they’re really committed to team success.”
Devin Loe staked the Ice Dogs to an early lead 99 seconds into regulation. Jono Davis tied up the game for the Wild, 1-1, less than two minutes into the second frame. Moments after the Wild killed off a Fairbanks power play, defenseman Blake Butzow set up the goal with a long send away pass down the center of the ice to Davis, who scored on a breakaway with a forehand-to-backhand move.
The Ice Dogs came right back, reclaiming the lead, 2-1, a little over a minute after Davis scored when Jacob Hetz notched a short-handed breakaway goal that started with a steal at his own blue line.
The Wild tied up the score, 2-2, with 4:05 left in the second stanza when Jacob Barber received a feather pass from Chris Kerr and lit the lamp on a wrist shot that sailed over the right shoulder of netminder Steve Perry. Josh Hartley also picked up an assist on the goal.
Wenatchee earned its first lead in the game 4:36 into the third period. Trace Redmond started the play with a hard slap shot from the top of the near faceoff circle, and Trevor Stewart did the rest, grinding for the score on a short rebound. The goal was Stewart’s first of the season in his first game of the season.
“He surprised me … the surprise is that he had as much gas in the tank as he did,” Rudrud said of Stewart. “He played smart, took care of the puck and just worked his tail off.”
The Ice Dogs forced the third tie of the game near the midpoint of the third period when Doug Rose scored on a slap shot from the point during a power play. After a scoreless overtime period, in which Wenatchee had to kill off a Fairbanks power play, the game went to a shootout.
Max McHugh the Wild’s first shooter, scored on a backhander. It turned out to be the only goal the Wild would score in the shootout, and the only goal they would need after Robert Nichols stopped all five Fairbanks shooters.
Nichols earned all three wins this weekend. He made 21 saves on 24 shots Saturday and refused to give up a score in the shootout. The Wild (31-7-4) will play their next six games on the road beginning with a 2-game series against the Fresno Monsters next Friday and Saturday. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7:35 p.m. Pre-game Friday on KPQ begins at about 7:15 p.m.