TOPEKA, Kan. – Defending NAHL champion Fairbanks overcame a 39-safe effort by Topeka goaltender Mike Rockwell and broke open a close game with a pair of third-period goals Saturday night as the Ice Dogs tripped up the RoadRunners 4-1 at the Kansas ExpoCentre to complete a three-game sweep.
Fairbanks (3-0) broke a 1-1 tie in the final seconds of the middle period with a power-play goal from Benton Maass, and then added scores 1:41 apart early in the third to ice the game. The RoadRunners (0-3) were outshot 43-18 on the night, but the 6-foot-5 Rockwell (Poughquag, NY) was stellar in his first NAHL start.
The Ice Dogs opened the scoring midway through the first period with a fortunate bounce on the power play. Joshua Boyer (from Julius Marva and Hampus Eriksson) was credited with the goal as it deflected off of two players and trickled into the net past Rockwell.
Rockwell continued to shut down the Ice Dogs with numerous big saves in the second period, and at the 9:30 mark of the period Jeff Makowski, with help from Marcus Russell, tied the game by beating Fairbanks goalie Jared Dempsey from close range.
Fairbanks, however, took the lead for good with only 40 seconds left in the period when Maass shoveled in a loose puck in heavy traffic.
Eriksson led Fairbanks’ offense with three assists, while Marva added a pair of assists.