Hockey

Wolverines beat Fairbanks for the first time in franchise history to send Anchorage fans home happy

Anchorage’s Bohdan Panasenko delivered the go-ahead goal against Fairbanks on Saturday night to highlight the Wolverines’ 4-2 victory at Ben Boeke Ice Arena.

It was a franchise-first win for the expansion team over the Ice Dogs, who have long been a powerhouse in the North American Hockey League. The two-game series split — Fairbanks won 3-1 Friday — kept Anchorage within two points of the second-place Ice Dogs in the Midwest Division standings.

Anchorage goalie Raythan Robbins stopped 30 of 32 shots to improve his record to 9-0-1-0. Kayden Hargraves made 26 saves for Fairbanks.

Mike Aikens, Anchorage’s coach, lauded Robbins afterward.

“(He) had a huge game and gave us a chance to win,” said Aikens.

The Wolverines opened the scoring on Joey Moffatt’s first goal of the season, assisted by Colton Friesen, just over 8 minutes into the game. They nearly made it to intermission with the lead intact, but Ice Dogs defenseman Brendan Miles squared the scoreboard 1-1 three seconds before the buzzer with assists going to Owen Neuharth and Jacob Conrad.

With 5:50 left in the second period, Panasenko put Anchorage up 2-1 by notching an unassisted goal, his fourth of the season.

The NAHL’s goal-scoring leader, Wolverines winger Talon Sigurdson, continued his torrid start to the season with his 18th goal, unassisted, 7:55 into the final period.

With 53 seconds left in the game, Fairbanks got a power-play goal from Jack Ring, assisted by Jake Hale and Conrad, but the last-minute drama was squelched by Jackson Reineke’s empty-net goal 10 seconds before the final horn.

The teams have the week of Thanksgiving off but resume their rivalry Nov. 26-27 as the Wolverines travel to play in Fairbanks for the first time.

In Soldotna on Saturday, the Springfield Jr. Blues coasted to a 7-4 victory over the Kenai River Brown Bears, giving them a sweep of the series and sole possession of first place in the Midwest Division.

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