Kenai River Brown Bears forward Peter Morgan and Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues defenseman Hunter Mccurdy chase the puck Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Peter Morgan and Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues defenseman Hunter Mccurdy chase the puck Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Bears top Blues for 5th straight win

The Kenai River Brown Bears won their fifth straight game, topping the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues 4-1 on Thursday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

The Bears move to 12-5-1-2 and into a tie for first place in the North American Hockey League Midwest Division with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Springfield falls to 7-10-2-1 and remains tied for fourth place in the division.

The same two teams play at 7:30 p.m. at the sports complex on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Kenai River goalie Landon Pavlisin, who had 30 saves, was able to steer the Bears through a slow start. Springfield outshot Kenai River 14-8 in the first frame.

But the Bears went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from Soldotna’s Preston Weeks with 3:43 left in the period. Cody Moline and Wasilla’s Porter Schachle had the assists.

From there, special teams played a big difference in the game. Just 2:30 into the second, Logan Ritchie scored short-handed for a 2-0 lead. Schachle, assisted by Peter Morgan and Moline, made it 3-0 a few minutes later.

Then, just 14 seconds into the third period, Max Helgeson, assisted by Michael Spinner and Eagle River’s Zach Krajnik, made it 4-0 with a power-play goal.

Caden Villegas had Springfield’s lone goal of the night just 17 seconds later.

Ryan Wilson made 25 saves for Springfield.

Thursday

Brown Bears 4, Jr. Blues 1

Springfield 0 0 1— 1

Kenai River 1 2 1 — 4

First period — 1. Kenai River, Weeks (Moline, Schachle), 16:17. Penalties — none.

Second period — 2. Kenai River, Ritchie (un.), sh, 2:30; 3. Kenai River, Schachle (Morgan, Moline), 4:20. Penalties — Springfield 3 for 6:00; Kenai River 3 for 6:00.

Third period — 4. Kenai River, Helgeson (Spinner, Krajnik), pp, 0:14. 5. Springfield, Villegas (Marino, Swanson), 0:31. Penalties — Springfield 1 for 2:00; Kenai River 2 for 4:00.

Shots on goal — Springfield 14-8-9—31; Kenai River 8-10-11—29.

Goalies — Springfield, Wilson (29 shots, 25 saves); Kenai River, Pavlisin (31 shots, 30 saves).

Power plays — Springfield 0 for 5; Kenai River 1 for 2.

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