The Bozeman Ice Dogs fell to the Sheridan Hawks in consecutive games on Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27.
Friday’s contest was closer than the 5-1 final score would lead one to believe. The Ice Dogs played aggressively, pushing the pace of the game and keeping the Hawks on their heels for much of the first ten minutes. The Hawks finally found their rhythm just past the halfway mark of the first period as they buried the first goal of the game just seven seconds into their first penalty of the night. The Ice Dogs continued to generate some offense but ended the period down 2-0. Bozeman answered early in the second period as Justin Hayward hammered home a power play goal to bring the Ice Dogs within one score, but Sheridan refused to give up the lead, extending it to 3-1 in the second period and adding two more goals in the third. A power play is an attack by a team at full strength against a team playing shorthanded because of a penalty.
The Ice Dogs looked to bounce back on Saturday night and pushed Sheridan to the limit. The Hawks scored early, but a Bozeman power play evened the score just a few minutes later. Sheridan would take the lead twice more, but Kamden Sengheisher scored to bring the Ice Dogs back on both occasions, including a sensational breakaway goal midway through the second period. As the third period came to a close the score was tied at 3-3, and the Ice Dogs readied themselves for a five-minute period of sudden-death overtime.
Despite a short power play opportunity at the end of the overtime period, the Ice Dogs were still locked in a stalemate once the five minutes were up, and the game went to a shootout. The first three rounds of the shootout were scoreless for both teams, and two additional rounds were needed before Sheridan found the back of the net, ending the game.
Saturday night’s game was chippy and hard-fought with 23 total penalties called and two Sheridan players finding themselves tossed from the game. Bozeman scored twice on nine power play opportunities, and Sheridan struck the net only once on their eight odd-man advantages.
Both goaltenders were outstanding on Saturday night. Bozeman’s Evan Wittchow made 50 stops on 53 shots and kept the Ice Dogs alive with two saves in overtime. Sheridan’s Christian Wong-Ramos saved 34 shots including three in overtime and was perfect in the shootout as he denied all five of Bozeman’s attempts.
Bozeman is the only team to beat Sheridan this season, their 3-2 victory in October the sole blemish on the Hawks otherwise flawless record. The Hawks leave town on a 30 game win streak as the Ice Dogs look to bounce back on Friday, March 5, in Bozeman against the Butte Cobras.