The Kenai River Brown Bears ended their season and opportunity to advance to the Robertson Cup on Sunday night with a one-goal loss, 3-2, after coming back from a two-game deficit in the best-of-five series against the Minnesota Magicians.
Head coach interim Josh Dubinsky said that coming back to force a game five is something to be proud of in and of itself.
“Most other teams probably would have been down and out,” he said.
Minnesota got a jump on the Brown Bears early, scoring twice in the first period. Just four minutes into the second period Minnesota scored again, giving them a 3-0 lead over the Brown Bears.
Kenai’s Peter Morgan buried a goal with an assist from Lucas Wahlin at the end of the second period to give the Brown Bears a chance of coming back.
Max Helgeson scored another goal for Kenai with assists from Carter Green and David Vieten early in the third period, narrowing Minnesota’s lead further.
In the end, the Magicians held them to just two goals, securing their win and advancement in the North American Hockey League Midwest postseason.
Dubinsky said the team really committed to the final push in the third period.
“We had chances to tie it up and we just ran out of time,” he said.
Kenai goaltender Luke Pavicich saved 34 out of 37 shots on goal during Sunday night’s game.
Dubinsky said he couldn’t choose just a few season standout players, and that everyone was “super impressive.”
The team was naturally a little down after Sunday night’s game, but Dubinsky said they’re going to realize how much they had to overcome this season and feel proud of the work they put in.
The Brown Bears had a late season start, and then got shut down for six weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. He said the team looks forward to being back at home for a normal season next year.
“They’ll realize they have a lot to be proud of,” Dubinsky said.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at firstname.lastname@example.org.