The Fairbanks Ice Dogs rolled to a 6-1 victory over the Kenai River Brown Bears on Friday in North American Hockey League action in Fairbanks in front of 2,242 fans.
The depth and skill of the Ice Dogs was on full display as 15 players registered at least one point.
"They scored a couple of goals and got confidence," Brown Bears coach Oliver David said. "The last thing you want is for Fairbanks to get confidence."
The loss snaps a six-game winning streak and nine-game point streak for the Bears. It also decreases Kenai River's lead in the Era Alaska Cup, the season-long battle between the Bears and Dogs, to 5-4.
Kenai River is 21-20-6, while Fairbanks is 30-14-3. Wenatchee (Wash.) leads the West Division with 72 points, while Fairbanks has 63, Kenai River has 48 and Fresno (Calif.) has 30.
The Bears scored the lone goal of the first period when Chris Nuth connected on a tip-in goal, with assists from Jake Bushey and Matt Seidel. Nuth now has three goals in his last four games.
It was all Fairbanks after that.
Garret Clemment, Ben Campbell and Curran Klein scored in the second period for a 3-1 lead.
David said a turning point came early in the third period. The Bears started with 1 minute, 14 seconds, of a five-on-three power play, but didn't score.
The Ice Dogs got goals from Jakob Romo, Taylor Munson and Colton Wolter in the final 10 minutes of the game.
"I think we got affected by the score and the team game went out the window," David said. "Guys started cheating and playing the wrong side of the puck, taking chances and leaving linemates out to dry. We paid for it."
Evan McCarthy made 20 saves for the Bears, while Steve Perry had 15 saves for the Ice Dogs.
McCarthy was starting for Marcus Zelzer, who had started all nine games of the point streak. Zelzer was injured in the final period of the Bears' victory over the Ice Dogs on Jan. 9.
David said Zelzer is expected to make a full recovery from the knee injury, and should be ready when Fairbanks comes to the Soldotna Sports Center on March 1.
McCarthy hadn't started a game since Jan. 12.
"In fairness to McCarthy, he was playing his first game since Zelzer got here," David said. "The guys needed to get him off and running and play well in front of him, and they got away from that."
Soldotna High School product Brad Duwe returned to the lineup for the Bears. He has a minor concussion in practice and missed the series with Janesville (Wis.) on Jan. 18, then got a more serious concussion on Feb. 1 against Frenso. He had not played since.
Fairbanks and Kenai River drop the puck at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Ice Dogs 6, Brown Bears 1
First period — 1. Kenai River, Nuth (Bushey, Seidel), 9:52. Penalties — Kenai River 4 for 19:00; Fairbanks 1 for 5:00.
Second period — 2. Fairbanks, Clemment (Cornellier, Lagrone), 2:06; 3. Fairbanks, Campbell (Birkinbine, Hetz), 8:41; 4. Fairbanks, Klein (Loe, Wolter), 14:03. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Fairbanks 4 for 8:00.
Third period — 5. Fairbanks, Romo (Gervais, Rose), 12:29; 6. Fairbanks, Munson (Birkinbine, Hinz), 14:31; 7. Fairbanks, Wolter (Angus, Lagrone), 17:23. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Fairbanks 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 7-7-2—16; Fairbanks 10-10-6—26.
Goalies — Kenai River, McCarthy (26 shots, 20 saves); Fairbanks, Perry (16 shots, 15 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 4; Fairbanks 0 for 3.