FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Added depth and a pair of early goals propelled the Wenatchee Wild past the Fairbanks Ice Dogs 3-1 on Friday.
Wenatchee took a 2-1 lead in the North American Hockey League West Division finals series and has a chance to win the best-of-five set Saturday.
A pair of goals from Jono Davis gave the team a 2-1 advantage going into the third period and defenseman Chris Jones scored on an empty net to make it a 3-1 affair with less than one minute left in regulation.
“It was one of our better team efforts, and when Jono had a chance to make a couple plays, he did,” coach Bliss Littler said.
The Wild got a boost from re-installing a fourth line (Brian Williams, Nathan Flynn and Trevor Stewart), a luxury they haven’t had for about seven weeks.
“It keeps one of your better players from double-shifting,” Littler said. “It allows you to play with a little more energy.”
Once again, it was a hard-fought, even-handed contest between the two teams. Wenatchee led the entire game, but wasn’t able to get a two-goal cushion until the Ice Dogs pulled netminder Steve Perry.
Wild goaltender Robert Nichols recorded 26 saves on 27 shots in the victory.
“Both teams played very well,” Littler said. “We took advantage of a couple mistakes early and they took advantage of a mistake we made. Pretty even hockey; pretty even game, actually.”