NAHL: Fairbanks-Kenai River series could be a battle

Given the 16-games season series between the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Kenai River Brown Bears -- each club won eight games -- their first-round playoff series in the North American Hockey League could be outstanding.

After all, 10 of the 16 regular-season games between the teams were decided by one goal.

The Ice Dogs finished second in the four-team West Division with 82 points, two fewer than the Wenatchee Wild. The Brown Bears finished third with 64 points. Yet that 18-point difference between the teams wasn't evident in the season series -- the Ice Dogs went 8-7-1, the Brown Bears went 8-8-0.

The best-of-5 series opens Friday and Saturday in Fairbanks, before moving to Soldotna for two games, on April 18 and, if necessary,April 20. Game 5 would be April 22 in Fairbanks.

Both teams fared the same in home matches between the clubs this season -- each went 6-2-0. Fairbanks went 2-5-1 in Soldotna, Kenai River went 2-6-0 in Fairbanks.

So, don't be stunned if this is a tight series.