Ice Dogs sweep, Warriors win on Thursday night in NAHL
Michigan 5 @ Port Huron 2
The Port Huron Fighting Falcons fell to the Michigan Warriors Thursday, 5-2. The Warriors Martin Gruse netted the game’s first goal 5:58 into the first period. Matus Matis and Chris Eckler assisted on the play. Zak Thompson’s goal five minutes later from Joseph Ferriss and AJ White gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead. The Fighting Falcons controlled the second period, and Logan Lemirande lit the lamp for the second time in as many nights on a power play goal that cut Michigan’s lead in half 1:38 into the period. Bret Lewandowski, who played 14 games for the Warriors last season, earned an assist on the play. Goalie Max Milosek made a great stop on a Fighting Falcons penalty kill, and then Easton Powers took advantage of a Michigan turnover and rifled one past Brach Tiller to tie the game at two. Powers’ third of the season came just nine seconds after he got out of the penalty box. Gruse got his second score of the night 3:53 into the third period to put the Warriors up for good. Bobby Bodette and Eckler assisted on the play. The Fighting Falcons gave up their first power play goal on home ice this season four minutes later as they got caught in a line change and Matis and Ferriss went in on a two-on-none break. Matis took the pass from Ferriss and beat Milosek for his fourth goal of the season. Goalie Brach Tiller got his first NAHL assist on the play. Eckler and Gruse each got their third points of the game when Eckler’s shot at an empty net beat the buzzer at 19:59 to give Michigan the 5-2 win. With the win, the Warriors hold on to sole possession of first place in the North Division, improving to 8-2-1. The Fighting Falcons fall to 6-4-2, remaining tied with Kalamazoo for second place with 14 points.
Fresno 1 @ Fairbanks 3
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs effectively played the angles against the Fresno Monsters on Thursday night, leading to a sweep and keeping the main tenants of Big Dipper Ice Arena unbeaten early in the North American Hockey League season. The West Division leader and reigning Robetson Cup national champion rallied for a 3-1 victory after the Ice Dogs and the second-place Monsters played to a scoreless deadlock in the first period. Throughout the contest, the Ice Dogs forced the visitors from California wide on their attack and took away passing lanes. Alec Hajdukovich had two goals and JT Osborn contributed his team-high 14th goal and fifth point of the series before the audience of 1,938. Gabe Levin and Tayler Munson each had two assists for Fairbanks and Pete Spratte and Pavlo Padakin provided individual helpers. Wednesday’s 4-3 victory was seemingly a special teams tune-up for the Ice Dogs after they went 2 for 6 on the power play and killed three of four man-advantage sessions for the Monsters (7-2-2). On Thursday, Fairbanks was 1 for 3 with the extra skater while Fresno was 1 for 5.