Kenai River Brown Bears goalie Bryant Marks saves a shot by Jack Ring of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Friday, March 12, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Brown Bears goalie Bryant Marks saves a shot by Jack Ring of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Friday, March 12, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Bears top Jets; Marks commits to UAA

The Kenai River Brown Bears defeated the host Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets 2-1 in overtime Thursday in North American Hockey League play.

The Brown Bears improv to 3-2-0-0 with the Midwest Division road win, while the Jets fall to 4-0-1-0.

The game-winner came from Anchorage’s Bryce Monrean, who is committed to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The assists were from Caleb Huffman, also of Anchorage, and Noah Holt.

All three were with the Brown Bears last season, as was Ryan Finch, who scored the first goal.

“Janesville is a great team,” Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said. “They were 4-0 coming out of the Showcase. This division is very deep and it’s hard to win on the road, let alone win at home.

“We leaned heavily on our vets.”

After a scoreless first period, Finch, assisted by Garret Drotts, made it 1-0 headed to the third. With 8:10 left in the third period, Jimmy Doyle scored unassisted to tie it.

Shaw said his team was playing too much east-west hockey, instead of trying to get the puck up the ice.

“We think we probably gave one away in regulation to make it 1-1,” Shaw said. “Then we had to kill off a penalty with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the third period. We probably ate 10 pucks.

“That shows how much guys still believe in the team. Last year, maybe we give up another goal, but the guys pushed through the kill and then five-on-five.”

Shaw said it was the penalty killers stopping the pucks during that last power play, though he added Nils Wallstrom made some great saves in recording the win with 32 saves. Selby Warren stopped 33 for Janesville.

The Bears stay in Janesville for 4 p.m. AKDT games today and Saturday.

Marks commits to University of Alaska Anchorage

The Bears announced Thursday that goalie Bryant Marks had committed to play Division I hockey at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The Seawolves are an independent Division I program.

“I am proud to announce my commitment to play Division I hockey at the University of Alaska Anchorage,” Marks said in a released statement Thursday. “I would like to thank all my family, friends, and coaches who have helped me along the way.”

Marks, an 18-year-old from Wasilla, is in his second year playing for Kenai River. Last season, Marks was 5-16-2 with a 3.84 goals-against average and an .889 save percentage.

He steadily improved as the 2021-22 campaign wore on, getting his first NAHL shutout in his last start of the season.

Marks has appeared in one game so far this season. He made 25 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Rebels.

Shaw said Marks’ commitment was very popular with the team.

“When he was able to announce his deal, he did it in front of the guys and there was a great amount of excitement for him,” Shaw said.

Shaw said Marks has a nice level of comfort with the Seawolves coaching staff.

“For him, Alaska is home and it’s huge for him being able to play at home,” Shaw said. “What a great fit for UAA.”


Brown Bears 2, Jets 1, OT

Kenai River 0 1 0 1 —2

Janesville 0 0 1 0 —1

First period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 1. Kenai River, Finch (Drotts), 17:56. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Janesville 3 for 6:00.

Third period — 2. Janesville, Doyle (un.), 11:50. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Overtime — 3. Kenai River, Monrean (Huffman, Holt), 0:46. Penalties — none.

Shots on goal — Kenai River 7-13-14-1—35; Janesville 9-12-12—33.

Goalies — Kenai River, Wallstrom (33 shots, 32 saves); Janesville, Selby (35 shots, 33 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 1; Janesville 0 for 3.

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